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condition was deteriorating and financial information available to municipal bond investors was either incomplete or outdated.”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

It was quite a panel at the Hicksville Community Center Oct. 20 as State Senator Jack Martins and Senate Candidate Adam Haber discussed their qualifications and answered public questions about their upcoming election bids in the 7th Senate District. Congressman Steve Israel was on hand as well as 13 District State Assemblyman Michael Montesano and contender Lou Imbroto. The event was hosted by Northwest Civic Association President Joel Berse.

Martins, who previously served as Mayor of Mineola and was elected to Senate in 2011, said that the State of New York is in much better financial shape since he has taken office.

Alan Yu, an external auditor from the firm, Cullen & Danowski LLP gave the findings of the annual district external audit at Oct. 22’s Hicksville Board of Education meeting. Discussed at the meeting were the financial statements of the 2013-14 school year which officially ended June 30.

According to Yu, the Hicksville School district has a fund balance of $34 million. Roughly 26 to 27 percent of the general fund balance comprises the total budget.


Sports

The Hicksville girls volleyball team improved to 7-1 by knocking off Oceanside in three consecutive sets by scores of 25-13, 25-19 and 25-14.

Emily Markakis played terrificly, using a powerful serve to record three aces, seven kills and added nine digs. Nikki Chase added six kills and eight digs. Additionally, Raeann Dong was versatile—recording three aces, seven kills and nine digs.

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


Calendar

Safe Trick or Treat

October 31

Election Day

November 4

Senior Luncheon

November 6



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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