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Cuomo stalls speed-camera plan

ALBANY -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo refused to grant state legislators permission Monday night to rush through a bill to install 125 school-zone speed cameras on Long Island -- potentially creating a big hole in Nassau County's finances.

State Senate co-leader Jeff Klein (D-Bronx) and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver (D-Manhattan) had struck a deal for the legislature to pass a school-zone speed camera bill late Monday. But they needed the governor to waive a required three-day waiting period between introducing and voting on a bill. To their surprise, Cuomo declined, officials said.

Nassau County is counting on revenue generated by speeding infractions to help seal labor contracts. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which oversees county finances, has postponed a vote on the contract until next week. NIFA was waiting to see if the state would approve the cameras. Nassau has estimated it could receive $8 million or more in annual revenue from the cameras, which could be used to help lift a three-year union-employee wage freeze.

Klein aides declined to comment. A Silver spokesman said the Assembly would continue to advance the bill, though it might be at a slower pace. A Cuomo aide said only that he wasn't aware that the administration would waive the waiting period.

Many legislators said they would rather act sooner than later. "We need to move this bill," said State Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola). "It means too much to the hardworking county employees to be playing around with semantics."

The proposal had seemed likely to be included in the state budget, which was passed Monday night, but the camera plan was dropped after lawmakers couldn't agree on how to divvy up the money from traffic tickets.

Silver Monday proposed villages get a cut of the revenue if a camera is installed on a village-maintained road. Lawmakers previously said Assemb. Earlene Hooper (D-Hempstead) had advocated for the villages. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone had projected that 20 cameras would generate $2 million in annual revenue.

State & Region