“Tax relief, combined with robust investments in public safety will help Nassau maintain its status as ‘Safest Community in America," Curran said.
Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has announced that her proposed $3.5 billion 2022 budget slashes $70 million in property taxes in 2022 and reduces taxes by $150 million over the next four years. Following three consecutive no-property-tax increase budgets, Curran’s proposal continues her key commitments to: providing relief for homeowners, prioritizing public safety enhancements, and maintaining fiscal discipline.
“Three years of strategic fiscal management has paid off - allowing us to not only weather the pandemic’s unprecedented financial crisis while maintaining services and staffing levels but emerge with County finances in their strongest position in over a decade,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “Tax relief, combined with robust investments in public safety will help Nassau maintain its status as ‘Safest Community in America,’ while putting money back into the pockets of Nassau’s homeowners as we continue to revive our local economy.”
Increasing Investment in Public Safety
The County Executive highlighted her proposed increased investment in public safety, as Nassau County experiences historic lows in major crime while spiking in many parts of the state. This investment includes $45 million in new spending and 70 additional positions at the police department, probation, the sheriff’s office and other public safety agencies. If approved, the County would be expanding the number of sworn officers for the first time since 2009. The budget also includes funds for two police classes and two corrections classes for new officers, funding for the County’s body camera initiative and related costs, and full funding for collective bargaining and ordinance wage increases at the County’s proposed pattern.
“As County Executive, keeping Nassau residents safe will always be my highest priority,” Curran continued. “This increased investment in public safety will help ensure our law enforcement have the resources and training necessary to perform their work at the highest level - while providing every neighborhood with the safety and trust necessary to protect all our residents.”
“Today’s announcement by County Executive Curran will greatly benefit the Police Department by allowing us to continue to hire police officers now and in the future,” said Commissioner of Police Patrick Ryder. “This investment in law enforcement will allow us to allocate proper personal as we continue to decrease crime to historic lows to keep Nassau County the safest community in the United States.”
Continuing to Clean up County Finances
With this budget, County Executive Curran is continuing her efforts to clean up financial mismanagement of the past, proposing to pay pension expenses deferred by the prior administration. During the Great Recession, the County deferred mandatory pension contributions under a special program allowed by the State. The County still owes the pension system $195 million through 2029 because of this deferral. Therefore, the proposal includes paying off this deferral in two installments, with $155 million this year and $40 million next year, resulting in the County being current on its pension obligations for the first time in over a decade. These payments continue Nassau County’s commitments to fiscal responsibility.
Rebuilding County Finances
These property tax cuts are made possible after Curran’s administration prudently ended 2019 with $145 million in budget surplus and 2020 with an additional $128 million in surplus. These surpluses were a direct result of continued fiscal discipline coupled with strategic financial management of County employee headcount, expenses and outstanding debt - as well as the County’s exhaustive use of $103 million in federal CARES Act funding.
This surplus was supported by the County’s historic, bipartisan agreement to work with NIFA to restructure debt. This strategy saves County taxpayers $117 million in present value and decreased our total debt service by almost $65 million over the life of the transaction.
The County has dedicated these surplus funds in 2020 to grow depleted reserves so that when the next downturn comes, Nassau County will be financially ready for it.
While the County Executive was vocal and persistent on the need for the American Rescue funding, the County balanced the budget for 2021 without an expectation of these federal funds, and the financial plan for 2022 is also balanced without use of these funds. The County is using these funds to directly assist residents, businesses and taxpayers affected by the pandemic.