Nassau’s Republican legislative majority on Monday subpoenaed County Executive Laura Curran’s administration for financial documents GOP lawmakers say they need to analyze Curran’s plans to shrink Nassau’s ballooning deficit.
The subpoenas, signed by Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park), sought financial statements from county consultants Public Financial Management and Raymond Orlando, budget director for the Democratic county executive.
Republicans last month unsuccessfully requested financial documents from the Curran administration they said contained, “information critical to carrying out their duties as a coequal branch of government.”
The subpoenas direct PFM representatives and Orlando to appear before a legislative committee on Aug.10 with “all analysis, documents, records and reports … related to proposed and actual actions taken by the county to address budgetary issues arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic slowdown, including but not limited to, proposed refunding, refinancing or issuance of any debt by Nassau County or the Nassau Interim Finance Authority.”
“We are not prejudging any potential plan to address the county’s fiscal difficulties resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Nicolello said. “However, as the county’s elected representatives, we must review all possible options. The administration has refused for months to provide us with an analysis of these options, but has instead sought to ram through a refinancing plan that will burden residents with hundreds of millions in debt service and bureaucratic costs through 2051.”
County spokesman Mike Fricchione said: “As with every arbitrary, taxpayer funded political fishing expedition that Republican legislators decide to voyage on, the County Executive’s administration will again explain to the legislature the financial tsunami that has engulfed the County, along with the rest of the country. Nassau County’s Office of Management and Budget briefed the legislature on a fiscally responsible plan to put Nassau County back on stable financial footing over month ago and has yet to receive any alternative proposals for solving the unprecedented fiscal crisis.”
Nicolello and Curran disagree about how to address the deficit, which is projected to reach nearly $750 million over the next 18 months, largely due to a steep drop in sales tax receipts. Nassau’s annual budget is about $3.5 million.
Curran says refinancing county debt through NIFA, the county’s financial control board, would save Nassau millions of dollars a year.
But Republicans say it would extend the period of NIFA oversight of county finances.
The county Legislature, where the GOP has an 11-8 edge, would need to approve borrowing through NIFA.
The legal action is the first since March 2011, legislative officials said, when the Legislature demanded budget aides to former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano testify at a hearing.