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NIFA to Nassau: Produce deficit-cutting plans

Adam Barsky, NIFA chair, is seen at a

Adam Barsky, NIFA chair, is seen at a meeting on Oct. 13, 2016. Credit: Danielle Finkelstein

The chairman of Nassau’s control board Wednesday directed County Executive Edward Mangano to produce three separate contingency plans by Nov. 16 to reduce next year’s operating expenditures by as much as $100 million.

The directive from Adam Barsky, chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, came after the Republican-controlled county legislature on Monday approved a $2.9 billion budget for next year but did not approve $77 million in new and increased fees to help fund it.

Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said at the time that lawmakers would adopt alternative revenues by the end of the month.

NIFA has the power to reject the county’s budget but has yet to receive the spending plan. Barsky said in an interview that he wants contingency plans developed now because “we may not accept the budget that is sent to us. . . . If we determine there is a risk that is not acceptable to us, we will require the county to make a certain level of cuts.”

In a letter to Mangano, Barsky requested a plan “containing detailed initiatives that can be immediately implemented and reduces operating expenditures” by $50 million, another that reduces spending by $75 million and a third that cuts costs by $100 million.

Gonsalves said Wednesday, “We have informed NIFA already that the legislature will take additional time to evaluate potential budgetary alternatives that have been brought to our attention, and that all contemplated revenues would be in place well before fiscal 2017.”

Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said Gonsalves “informs us that the legislature plans to fully fund the budget at their November 21 meeting. In the meantime, the deputy county executive for finance is reviewing NIFA’s letter and preparing contingencies should the legislature not fund the budget they approved on October 31.”

Minority leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said Barsky’s letter “is the final confirmation that this county executive can no longer govern and that both he and Norma Gonsalves have completely lost sight of how to be accountable to Nassau taxpayers.”

Abrahams on Monday complained that the county charter requires the legislature to pass a balanced budget before Election Day. The budget — without the fees — was passed by an 11-6 vote with Legis. Denise Ford (R-Long Beach) voting with Democratic legislators against it.

Federal prosecutors have charged Mangano with multiple counts of bribery and corruption. Mangano, a Republican, has pleaded not guilty and has said he will not resign.

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