Nassau County, NY - Sepetember 17, 2014 - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano delivered to the Legislature a proposed County Budget for 2015 that reflects the progress his administration has achieved in freezing real property taxes while structurally repairing Nassau County through efficiency initiatives, shared services, labor contract savings, assessment reform and cost-cutting public-private partnerships. The Mangano administration’s economic development initiatives have returned companies to Nassau County, created over 1,000 new home rental opportunities and resulted in Nassau County having the lowest unemployment rate in the region.
County Executive Mangano stated, “Economic conditions typically create new challenges for government and this year is no exception. From an unusual and disproportionate decline in Sales Tax receipts to police overtime costs that are now coming under control and assessment reforms that are now being implemented, this budget protects homeowners from bearing the burden of these challenges by participating in the Governor’s new Property Tax Freeze Credit program. We have made tough choices to structurally repair Nassau’s finances so that this generation and future generations no longer pay the price of mistakes made by prior administrations.”
The 2015 Budget participates in the Governor’s Property Tax Freeze Credit program as Nassau County sends far more money to Albany than it receives. The program requires the County to stay within the New York State Property Tax Cap and submit an efficiency plan in 2016. The County is positioned to participate and recapture millions of dollars from the State. The State will return collected amounts directly to homeowners with income not exceeding $500,000. The average homeowner cap and credit will be approximately $41.
Nassau faces an unusual and disproportionate decline in Sales Tax receipts when compared with other counties in the region. This decline is not supported by typical indicators. For example, unemployment is at an all-time low and hotel stays are higher in 2014 than 2013 despite last year’s surge from post-Superstorm Sandy local stays. Accordingly, Moody’s Analytics was retained to study this anomaly. Notwithstanding this anomaly, this budget ensures finances remain balanced for 2015.
Police overtime spiked during the time period in which the County negotiated labor concessions which require new employee contributions to healthcare and pension costs. The County refrained from hiring new police officers during this time to avoid hiring higher paid employees who were not required to contribute to their healthcare and pension plans. Once concession agreements were reached, Nassau commenced hiring new employees who are required to contribute to their healthcare and pensions. This budget ensures overtime savings will be achieved by the hiring of additional police officers to fill minimum manning positions as reflected in the budget.
The Mangano administration has achieved historic assessment reforms in Class 4 where the largest financial burden to taxpayers exists. Reforms will end the decades of debt accumulated under the prior system. Going forward as presented in 2010, the County will bond to pay off the prior decade of accumulated debt pursuant to the plan presented and approved in 2012. Upon completion of the plan, Nassau will no longer accumulate such debt nor borrow to pay it.