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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condition was deteriorating and financial information available to municipal bond investors was either incomplete or outdated.”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

A group of like-minded local residents banded together and saved more than 200 area trees from the chopping block — for now.

A state judge ordered Nassau County and the Department of Public Works to stop cutting down trees along South Oyster Bay Road, granting a temporary restraining order to a group of residents spearheading an effort to save the trees.

State Supreme Court Judge Antonio Brandveen scheduled a hearing on Thursday, Oct. 16 for the county to address complaints from residents, in particular a group called Operation STOMP (Save Trees Over More Pavement) founded by Hicksville native Tanya Lukasik.The Public Works department had planned to removed more than 200 30-foot trees in communities ranging from Plainview, Bethpage, Hicksville and Syosset.

For the past 16 years, Lucia Simon has walked from her home in Hicksville to her job at the Hicksville Public Library. She enjoys her job as a librarian and says that the staff has become like family to her. But for the past three years, Simon and 56 fellow co-workers have been frustrated at what she says is the library’s board refusal to negotiate a fair contract.  

“We have had no contract in three years. They refuse to bargain with us. Every time they come back to us it’s not fair,” says Simon.

However, the board of trustees disagree, saying that it has made a “fair offer.”


Sports

The Girls Varsity soccer team, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, wore pink uniforms and pink socks in their game on Oct. 8 against MacArthur whom they defeated 1-0. The girls and boys soccer programs at Hicksville High School are selling pink ribbon car magnets with a soccer ball and HHS on it with the words “Kick Cancer” on the ribbon. All the money raised will go to the Sarah Grace Foundation, which is a local foundation trying to beat pediatric cancer. The players plan to raise $1,000 for this organization

— From Hicksville High School

Hicksville native progressing through Mets system

The Mets minor league system is enjoying a rare period of prosperity. For years, it was barren due to trading off high-ceiling players for major leaguers, or neglecting the draft in favor of the free agent market. Since General Manager Sandy Alderson took over, the organization has reversed course and put a much greater emphasis on player development. During his second-to-last season, however, former GM Omar Minaya took a chance and drafted a local catcher, Cam Maron, out of Hicksville High School in the 34th round.


Calendar

Spooktacular Halloween

October 17

Fall Festival

October 18

Veterans Casework Seminar

October 21



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