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Legislators approve 2021 budget proposal for NCC

A Nassau legislative panel approved a $100 per

A Nassau legislative panel approved a $100 per semester tuition hike for full-time Nassau Community College students on Monday June 8, 2020. Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau legislators in committee meetings on Monday approved a 2021 budget proposal for the county's community college that raises tuition by $100 per semester. 

Legislators on the Rules Committee unanimiously approved the college's $182 million budget proposal, which does not raise the county's contribution to the school but factors an anticipated reduction in state aid.

"Today the Legislature unanimously advanced a budget for Nassau Community College through legislative committees that will not raise property taxes for Nassau residents. Legislators look forward to having a broader discussion about the college's programs and financial situation before voting during the next full meeting of the legislature in two weeks," said Chris Boyle, spokesman for the legislative Majority.

NCC officials put forward a spending plan that is 10 percent lower than the previous adopted budget, cuting salaries and benefits, contractual agreements, general expenses and utilities, according to budget documents.

The 20,000-student school, which is the largest single-campus community college in the state, has suffered enrollment declines in recent years. It draws revenue from the state and county budgets as well as student tuition. Last month, Suffolk County Community College cut about $7 million from its operating budget and froze student tuition.

Republican lawmakers had threatened not to pass the budget in earlier discussions because of cuts to a program at NCC for students with autism spectrum disorders. The budget will be discussed and voted on by the full 19-member legislature on June 22. 

Legislators also approved an ordinance sets aside a county-owned residential parcel at 302 Woodbury Road in Woodbury for use as affordable housing. The county will get 50 percent of the eventual sales price after it is sold by the Nassau County Land Bank, a not-for-profit public authority formed in 2016 after the mortgage crisis. The housing plan for the property would be subject to Town of Oyster Bay zoning approval. 

Also on Monday, the full Nassau legislature unanimously approved a loan of $1.9 million to the county Board of Elections to protect poll workers and voters from exposure to the novel coronavirus.

Larry Nedelka, executive assistant to the commissioner of the Board of Elections, told legislators sanitizing the polling sites would cost about $265,000 and mailing absentee ballots, including return postage, will be about $1.4 million. Gloves and face masks for poll workers are included in the cost. 

"We're talking on Primary Day about 30,000 pairs of gloves," Nedelka said. 

The county is expected to be reimbursed by the state through the federal CARES Act. 

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