Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (June 13, 2011)

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano (June 13, 2011) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A day before a state control board publicly reviews the status of Nassau's finances, County Executive Edward Mangano's top budget adviser on Wednesday said that he could not yet predict whether the county will end this year with a surplus or deficit.

But Tim Sullivan, deputy county executive for finance, said the county had already taken many steps to eliminate a budget gap, estimated at $176 million, in January when the Nassau Interim Finance Authority imposed financial controls.

Those steps include reducing the workforce by 600 employees, reorganizing the police department and charging nonprofit agencies for sewer services. Sullivan said the county will reduce the head count even further while it streamlines departments. Mandatory furloughs for remaining county employees is still an option, he said.

The county gave NIFA a revised multiyear financial plan at the end of June, which includes a proposal to transfer the county's sewer system to a private operator next year, which Sullivan said would save $150 million in 2012 and a total of $375 million over three years.

NIFA Thursday is expected to discuss the financial plan and also comment on Mangano's proposed Aug. 1 referendum, asking voters to approve borrowing $400 million to renovate the Nassau Coliseum in return for a promise by the Islanders hockey team to stay in Nassau.

NIFA, which must approve all contracts of $50,000 or more, is also expected to talk about the approval process.

"We are confident that our [financial] plan will work," Sullivan said. "To the extent there are any objections from NIFA, we look forward to NIFA coming up with alternatives."

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