Two Suffolk County legislators are calling for creation of a county financial control board to help reverse what they called “the county’s perilous financial course.”
Legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) and Legis. Anthony Piccirillo (R-Holtsville) said a financial control board such as the Nassau Interim Finance Authority would provide needed fiscal oversight and potential access to more favorable borrowing rates.
“The county needs a financial control board at this point in order to protect our taxpayers and to avoid massive layoffs,” Piccirillo said in a statement. “Our county’s future depends on it.”
Trotta and Piccirillo cited a state comptroller’s report finding that Suffolk had the highest fiscal stress of any county in New York in 2018.
Suffolk also is expected to have a shortfall of between $300 and $350 million this year stemming from the coronavirus shutdown, according to the county legislature’s Budget Review Office.
But Presiding Officer Robert Calarco (D-Patchogue) and Minority Leader Tom Cilmi (R-Bay Shore) said they were opposed to a control board, and expressed doubt the state would appoint one.
Control boards “are totally unnecessary and I think they are trying to stir a pot,” Calarco said of Trotta and Piccirillo. Officials also should see how much federal aid Suffolk gets to offset COVID-19 expenses before considering a control board, Calarco said.
“I have more trust in an elected body like the legislature than I do in a group of people appointed by Governor Cuomo, who are only accountable to Governor Cuomo,” Cilmi said.
Also this week, Trotta and Piccirillo wrote to U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, asking that the federal government restrict how Suffolk spends COVID-19 aid to ensure it goes only for expenses related directly to coronavirus relief.