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Nassau, Suffolk county fee increases same as tax hikes

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, left, and Suffolk

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, left, and Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone Credit: /

Long Islanders live in some of the wealthiest counties in the country. So I find it disheartening that our elected officials cannot seem to find ways to balance our budgets. They rely on short-term fixes such as selling county properties or, even worse, borrowing, to pay operating expenses such as pension costs. This solution violates accounting 101 [“County budget sleight of hand,” Editorial, Sept. 19].

What is needed are elected officials with the guts to make structural changes either to reduce spending or increase the income that generally comes from taxes — not hiding the tax increases through increased fees such as continually increasing real estate recording fees, block fees and tax-lot verification fees. We’ve seen fees increased by both the Mangano and Bellone administrations. Increased fees are nothing more than increased taxes.

As suggested by one county legislator, increased fees should fall under the state’s property-tax cap of 2 percent or the rate of inflation.

Ask any title or abstract company: Our recording fees are among the highest in the nation. To simply record a deed, or add a spouse or child, can easily cost upward of $1,000. In comparison, counties throughout the state and nation charge a fraction of that.

Enough is enough. We need elected officials to say no to ballooning payroll, pension and health care costs. The private sector can no longer afford these costs. Nor can it afford to support the public sector which imposes these costs.

Kevin J. O’BrienHuntington