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Letter: A Work of Fiction?

Earlier this month Comptroller George Maragos mislead the public during his announcement of the county’s 2012 year-end financial results. Publicly releasing the County’s year-end fiscal results is one of the primary responsibilities of the Comptroller and typically occurs in February or early March. Every year Maragos has been in office he has delayed the release – this year pushing it to June – in effect creating his own timeline. This raises serious doubts about the County’s financial condition and represents an abdication of responsibility by the Comptroller. It is my firm belief that Maragos’ announcement of the year-end financial results is a work of fiction.

It is the Comptroller’s job to issue honest, timely, and accurate financial reports rooted in reality, not to play the role of fiscal Houdini by fudging the numbers to hide a deficit. The rating agencies aren’t buying these misleading statements, and just this month Fitch downgraded Nassau County’s bond status given the poor state of the county’s fiscal health.

What Maragos conveniently excluded in his year-end results for fiscal year 2012 is the hundreds of millions of dollars owed by the county to taxpayers who successfully challenged their property tax assessment.  The report also irresponsibly assumes that Nassau County will receive the maximum reimbursement of the county’s expenses associated with the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.   

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently charged the city of Harrisburg, PA with securities fraud for “making misleading public statements when its financial condition was deteriorating and financial information available to municipal bond investors was either incomplete or outdated.” The current administration can no longer mislead voters by borrowing billions for short-term gain, pushing bills onto future generations, ignoring potential liabilities that the county is legally-required to pay, and then pretending to have a surplus. Nassau residents and bond holders need to know the true state of this County’s finances, and we need to know it now—before we become another Harrisburg.

Under the Suozzi administration, the County experienced eight verified surpluses and eight balanced budgets, thirteen bond upgrades (more than any other municipality in America), and county finances that NIFA and the rating agencies described as “stable.” Since 2010, Nassau has experienced three bond downgrades, the largest deficit in recent memory and a negative outlook from the rating agencies. These issues create a hole in the financial results large enough to drive a truck through. If this were part of an accounting exam, Maragos would receive an “F.” Nassau voters deserve honesty from their elected officials and it’s time Maragos tells the public the truth about the state of our County’s budget.

Howard Weitzman served as Nassau County Comptroller from 2001-2009 and is currently running for that position.  

Howard Weitzman

News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
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