Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano is asking department heads to sharpen their axes.
Mangano this week warned them that they need to review their proposed spending plans for 2010 because the county is facing a projected $286-million budget deficit next year - the equivalent of about 10 percent of Nassau's budget.
But unlike past penny-pinching county executives or New York City mayors, Mangano did not order an across-the-board cut of 5 percent or 10 percent as he works to balance Nassau's proposed 2010 budget, which must be released Sept. 15.
In an e-mail, Mangano asks department heads to consider services and programs that can be curtailed or eliminated "to best protect taxpayers from property tax hikes." He also asks them to come up with ways to generate more revenue or more efficiencies through consolidation.
"If departments do not provide sufficient reductions, the Office of Management and Budget will be implementing additional expense reductions above and beyond that prepared by the department," Mangano wrote. "During these tough economic times, I am requiring all departments to be prepared to make the appropriate reductions."
Mangano said he did not demand an overall reduction target because each department has varying resources and mandates. Instead, he said, he is "approaching things surgically" as Deputy County Executive Tim Sullivan meets with each department head.
Legis. Judy Jacobs (D-Woodbury), a former budget review committee chair, said, "I don't understand who is going to be hurt. I'm hoping it will not be youth and senior programs, programs for the mentally ill and drug-and-alcohol related programs. These are the vulnerable programs. They're all discretionary."