Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s finance chief clashed Tuesday with a Democratic lawmaker attempting to extract details of the administration’s contingency plan to close a projected budget gap.
Deputy County Executive Eric Naughton, testifying before the legislative budget review committee in Mineola, repeatedly declined to specify what actions the administration would take if its proposals to pare $50 million from a $130 million year-end deficit estimated by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority — the county’s fiscal control board — fail to work.
Mangano, a Republican, gave NIFA a $50 million “action plan” of expense cuts and revenue increases, including utility savings and lower-than-expected police termination costs, following the board’s $130 million deficit projection, not counting borrowing.
But in an Aug. 11 report, NIFA said Mangano’s action plan, “could quickly fall apart,” and recommended the administration “craft a contingency plan to address potential slippage” that “should have specificity.”
“The requested contingency plan by NIFA is a reasonable request. Why don’t we have a contingency plan in place as of now?” Legis. Carrié Solages (D-Elmont) asked Naughton during a long back-and-forth.
“That’s your statement that we don’t have a contingency plan,” Naughton said. “I stated I don’t have one I can share with you.”
Solages then asked if Naughton could provide “any clarification” on the contingency plan before legislators’ next meeting, on Sept. 12.
“No, I cannot,” Naughton said, noting that the administration would include many of the requested details within its 2017 budget proposal, to be submitted in mid-September.
Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence), the budget review committee chairman, cut in.
“You’re just beating a dead horse over here,” Kopel said. “I believe they’ve answered the question: they’re not prepared to provide anything in the way of a contingency plan, whether it’s verbal or written.”
Solages said he wanted to “get NIFA off your back. Let’s work with NIFA here.”
“We work with them constantly,” Naughton said.
Naughton alluded to Democrats blocking recent borrowing measures in protest of Republicans’ resistance to some of their proposed contracting system reforms.
“They’re less concerned with the contingency plan,” he said of NIFA. “They’re more concerned with the revenue that we’re asking for and that everyone is working with us to achieve our goals.”
A spokesman for NIFA did not respond to a request for comment. The board wants the county to cap its 2016 deficit to no more than $80 million, not counting borrowing as revenue.
Counting borrowing, Mangano has said Nassau will end the year with a surplus.