Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is proposing fee increases for a variety of services, including transporting accident victims by police helicopter to medical facilities, and is expected to call for additional staff reductions as part of a $45 million deficit-closing plan.
Mangano is to announce the plan Monday as he attempts to balance this year's $2.7 billion budget. The county comptroller last week warned that Nassau is facing a $45 million deficit without further belt-tightening. The county ended last year $50.4 million in the red.
To boost revenues, the Mangano administration this week proposed legislation that would increase penalties for false alarms from home and business security systems. Bills filed with the county legislature also would raise fees to process traffic violations, register ATMs, obtain home improvement licenses and taxi cab permits and register as a county vendor. A new $7,500 fee for "any case where medical evacuation and transportation is accomplished by helicopter" also was proposed.
The administration did not estimate how much total revenue will be raised through the fee increases. Mangano declined to comment Friday on his plan.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said, "We'll take a look at anything but fee increases, in our opinion, are backdoor tax increases."
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury) added that lawmakers will "judge the cost of it versus the fairness of it and then make a decision on whether it's something we can support."
Mangano aide Brian Nevin said, "Despite the Democrats creating Nassau's fiscal mess," Mangano is "moving this county forward by holding the line on property taxes, maintaining critical services and cutting government waste."
To curb spending, Mangano is expected on Monday to announce the need for further staff cuts after last year's reduction of nearly 400 workers through layoffs and voluntary retirement incentives.
Jerry Laricchiuta, president of the Civil Service Employee Association, said Friday that Mangano told him additional staff cuts are needed, "but not until the end of the year."
He said the more than 60 union members who signed up for a retirement incentive that closed Friday, "should take the pressure off. As far as I'm concerned, there should be no more layoffs in terms of head count reductions in the CSEA."
Mangano agreed to cut $150 million in recurring labor costs this year in a budget deal with the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the state board in control of Nassau's finances. But state officials estimate only $90 million has been saved so far.