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condition was deteriorating and financial information available to municipal bond investors was either incomplete or outdated.”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

Due to what appears to be a colossal error on the part of the Nassau County Assessor’s office, or perhaps an errant interpretation of state law, more than 600 military veterans and Gold Star families in Hicksville will have to wait for their tax break until next year.

Hicksville is one of several local school districts that recently approved resolutions extending the exemption to local veterans, even though budgets and Albany’s tax cap make it a tough choice. On Feb. 26, with a contingency of veterans in the audience, the board voted to provide a school tax exemption for veterans living in the district, starting with the 2014-15 school year.

You’d expect volleyball, football and running the mile in gym class, but what about juggling, plate spinning, or riding a unicycle? For the past 30 years, The National Circus Project has been challenging typical notions of gym class by bringing skilled, trained circus artists into schools for performances and week-long workshops.

Every year, the Westbury based nonprofit goes into approximately 350 public and private schools all over the northeast, including a previous visit to Dutch Lane School in Hicksville. Teams of expert circus artists will come into a physical education class for either a day or week-long workshop. Students get a front row seat to a performance by some of the best in the business, as well as hands on experience with traditional circus skills such as juggling, wire walking or acrobatics. Students in the week-long workshop get to perfect a specific skill and show it off during a show at the end of the week for family members.


Sports

Cantiague Park Senior Men’s Golf League had its first tournament on Thursday April 4. Twenty golfers came out on on a crisp but sunny morning. Charlie Hong was the only man to score under a 40, with a 38 and won for low overall score. Jim O’ Brien  scored a 41, and won low overall net in a tie-breaker with Mike Guerriero.

Competition on the nine-hole course is divided into two divisions. Flight A is for players with a handicap of 13 or lower. Flight B is for players with a handicap of 14 or more. The league is a 100 percent handicap league. Any man 55 years or older is eligible for membership. We have many openings for this year, and you can sign up anytime throughout the the season.

This November, Hicksville resident Marlo Signoracci will head to Florida for Ironman, a demanding, long-distance triathlon that includes biking, running and swimming. Here, she shares her story as she prepares for one of the most physically challenging athletic events out there.

Life’s challenges are not supposed to paralyze you. They are supposed to help you discover who you are.


Calendar

American Legion Meeting

April 21

HS Theater in the Round

April 24-26

Science Fair

April 26



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LI’s ‘Most Prominent Lady In Politics’
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