Graduates look on during the Nassau County Police Department Police...

Graduates look on during the Nassau County Police Department Police Academy graduation at the David S. Mack Center for Training and Intelligence in Garden City in February 2022. Credit: Barry Sloan

Nassau's Democratic legislators want to cut the property tax levy by $128 million, hire 100 more police officers and boost staffing in the Inspector General's office, according to their proposed changes to County Executive Bruce Blakeman's 2024 budget plan.

The amendments, filed Tuesday, would not affect the size of the $4.1 billion budget that Blakeman, a Republican, filed Sept. 15. Republicans hold a 12-7 majority in the legislature and will decide whether to consider the amendments. 

Democrats said they would use $128 million from county reserves to reduce the property tax levy, including about $100 million in a projected 2023 surplus due to better than expected sales tax receipts and unappropriated pandemic aid from the American Rescue Plan Act. The county had about $1 billion in reserves as of July. 

Nassau households would see an average of $400 cut from the county portion of their property tax bill, Democrats said. 

"We would be cutting from the county expenditure side, so we should cut from the revenue side," said Minority Leader Legis. Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport). "The county executive promised this while he was campaigning, and being that the county is in better fiscal times, this is the appropriate time to give Nassau County taxpayers a break."

Blakeman's proposed budget does not include a rise or reduction in property taxes. It raises county spending by $180 million over last year's adopted budget and includes hiring 20 more police officers.

Blakeman spokesman Christopher Boyle did not respond to specific questions on the amendments. He said Blakeman "is committed to fiscal responsibility, and with inflation nearing 3.5% it would be foolish to do anything that would create a structural imbalance." 

Democrats said that of the 100 additional police officers, 25 would be trained specifically to prevent and investigate bias-motivated hate crimes and 75 would patrol the county on foot and bicycle.

"We feel many would be in communities in a more visible and informal way to enhance relationships in downtown communities," Abrahams said.

Another proposal would boost funding to the Inspector General's office by nearly $600,000 to hire more auditors, analysts and investigative attorneys to review more of the county's vendor contracts. 

A hearing and vote on the budget is scheduled for Oct. 30 at 10 a.m., according to Mary Studdert, spokeswoman for the Republican Majority.

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