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Mangano would hike spending by $194 million next year

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano works on the

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano works on the 2015 budget in his office on Monday, Sept. 15, 2014 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County spending would increase by $194 million and property taxes would rise by 3.1 percent next year under County Executive Edward Mangano's proposed operating budget.

If a proposed increase in sewer district taxes is included, the total county property tax levy would climb by nearly 3.4 percent -- but Nassau still would meet guidelines for the state's tax cap, allowing residents to be eligible for tax rebates.

The figures are contained in 2015 budget documents, released Tuesday.

Mangano, who campaigned last year on having frozen property taxes since he took office in 2010, initially said his proposed $2.98 billion budget would have a 2.2 percent property tax increase.

However, documents show the property tax levy would increase from $807 million this year to $832.3 million next year, an overall hike of 3.13 percent.

Officials said homeowners would pay $17.75 million of the total $25.3 million increase in the property tax levy -- the equivalent of a 2.2 percent hike that Mangano says will cost the average homeowner $41 more next year.

The remainder of the tax hike would be shouldered by the other three classes of property owners in Nassau: businesses, co-ops and condominiums, and utilities, officials said.

County officials said homeowners who earn less than $500,000 a year will be eligible for a state tax rebate check that would reimburse them for the full cost of the property tax increase. In fact, Mangano labels his spending plan as the "2015 Property Tax Freeze Credit" proposed budget.

Nassau is allowed as much as a 3.5 percent tax levy increase: 2 percent for this year and 1.5 percent "recaptured" from last year when Mangano froze taxes.

The state rebate plan, begun this year when all state elected officials are facing re-election, is a two-year program.

Asked whether the tax increase would continue after the program ends, Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said, "If state officials allow this tax rebate to expire, the county will re-evaluate its options."

Budget documents show sewer district taxes would climb from about $117.3 million to $123.3 million in 2015, but those costs generally are not considered part of Nassau's operating budget.

Mangano has blamed the proposed tax increase on an unexpected decline in sales tax collections that could leave Nassau with as much as a $70 million deficit by the end of 2014.

Adding to the county's costs are about $40 million in wage increases following the end of an employee pay freeze.

County officials say restructured union contracts eventually will save hundreds of millions of dollars by requiring new employees to pay toward their health insurance and lengthening the time required to reach top pay.

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