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NIFA OKs $43.8 million in capital spending for early voting, road repair

NIFA chairman Adam Barsky at a meeting last

NIFA chairman Adam Barsky at a meeting last year. Credit: Danielle Silverman

The Nassau Interim Finance Authority on Thursday approved $43.8 million in capital spending for equipment for early voting as well as for resurfacing county roads and replacing county vehicles, greenlighting some spending that it had held up last month. 

The county's financial control board, meeting in Uniondale, approved $39.5 million in county borrowing and $4.3 million for Nassau Community College projects.

Last month, NIFA declined to approve about half the county's $74 million capital funding request, saying contracts for the work lacked NIFA approval. Some contracts also lacked approvals from the county comptroller's office or the Nassau County Legislature.

County officials objected to the delay. But NIFA chairman Adam Barsky asserted a long-standing practice of approving borrowing only if the projects were authorized, calling it a matter of "tough love."

"Obviously, the county was disappointed that everything did not get approved last time; we explained to them why,” Barsky said in an interview Thursday. “It’s not just some procedure that has no value. We want to ensure that we’re only allowing borrowing for projects that have actually been approved.“

He said NIFA officials were concerned Nassau would borrow money for projects that ultimately are not approved.

"We’re trying to put controls in to ensure that the county doesn't incur additional outstanding debt or related interest costs,” Barsky said.

The NIFA board approved the following projects:

  • $27 million for road resurfacing.
  • $1.579 million to replace county vehicles, including SUVs.
  • $1.55 million to replace road maintenance equipment, including light- and heavy-duty trucks, sweepers and payloaders. 
  • $1.264 million to renovate county court facilities.
  • $1 million to rebuild elevators in all county buildings.
  • $906,500 to upgrade county Board of Elections machinery for early voting during nine days before Election Day.
  • $500,000 to purchase four body scanners for the county jail in East Meadow.

In a statement, legislative Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said, "Our legislators have shown that we are committed to fighting for things that will continue to tangibly improve our local communities without raising taxes.”

The county will seek NIFA's borrowing approval for several projects at a later date, county officials said. The projects, which were submitted in the April package, included $6.4 million to renovate the Family & Matrimonial Court and $2.8 million for streetscape and traffic improvements in Westbury.

Kenneth Arnold, public works commissioner, said NIFA's approval "allows the county to move forward with its aggressive resurfacing program" that is expected to be finished by the fall.

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