Editor’s note: This is a response to Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos’s “County Financial Report Card,” published in the Hicksville Illustrated News, Sept. 11-17 edition. Howard Weitzman is running on the Democratic line against Maragos in the November election.
George Maragos continues to mislead the public by falsely claiming that the county’s financial condition has improved on his watch. During Mr. Maragos’s tenure as Nassau County’s fiscal watchdog, the county has undergone three bond downgrades by the credit rating agencies, the county’s fiscal outlook has been lowered from “stable” to “negative,” and the county’s debt has reached a new all-time high. No amount of “cooking the books” and issuing misleading financial statements and press releases can hide this truth, a truth which can be easily verified by outside sources.
The Financial condition of the County continues to improve by all fundamental measures, primarily due to the improving economy and cost controls instituted by the Mangano administration. From residents’ point of view, the County’s improved financial state is reflected in the county portion of their property tax bill, which has not increased in the last four years.
The mid-year financial projections for 2013 indicate that the County will end the year with a $5.6 million budgetary surplus. This follows on the heels of 2012’s surplus of $41.5 million, now confirmed by independent auditors. These budget surpluses are due to increased sales tax revenues from the improving economy (up 10.4 percent year to date) and reduced Social Service costs due to lower unemployment (down to 6 percent, one of the lowest rates in New York State and lower than that of Suffolk County and New York City.)
The Hicksville Water District Board of Commissioners Chairman Nicholas Brigandi would like to assure the Hicksville community that the Hicksville Water District has taken the necessary precautionary measures to protect the community’s drinking water supply in the event of a hurricane or other natural disaster. Last year service remained uninterrupted during Superstorm Sandy and water quality was unaffected.
Long Island Wins has long been out to spread the word: immigrants from all around the world come to Long Island to work hard and take care of their families.
One thing that‘s a constant source of pleasant surprise for me is just how many different ways immigrants are refreshing Long Island’s entrepreneurial spirit.
It seems part of the human condition to become so focused on that which needs correction that we often fail to appreciate our progress. It’s true in our personal lives, our work lives, and certainly when it comes to how we view government. In 11 years of public service I have yet to meet anyone whose first observation about government is how great it works.
But today I’ve got some terrific news that’s definitely worth celebrating. This past week Moody’s Investor Services upgraded New York State’s bond credit rating from “stable” to “positive.” While I realize that doesn’t sound like a particularly electrifying statement, it actually carries enormous significance. “Positive” is Moody’s Aa2 rating and their third-highest possible. In announcing their optimistic outlook, they cited – are you ready for it? – “the state’s resilience during and after the Great Recession, closing state budget gaps, reduction of government gridlock and its relatively well-funded public employee pension system.” How about them apples?
Your “Raise The Age” story pointed out that 74.4 percent of crimes that 16 and 17-year-olds are arrested for are only minor misdemeanors. Of course, that means that 25.6 percent are felonies---including burglaries, robberies, muggings, assaults, molestations, rapes, torture, and murders. Yet D.A. Kathleen Rice is against arresting, prosecuting and punishing 16 and 17 year-olds as adults for these horrible crimes regardless of the offense. Similarly, Assemblyman Charles Lavine feels that “children should be treated as children regardless of the crime they chose to commit.
As a long time Nassau County educator, I’ve seen a lack of interest at best, and some negligence to be sure, regarding fiscal management in some school districts in Nassau. The past County Executive administrations have done nothing to address these issues and have in fact exacerbated the situation by ignoring them.
We now have a candidate with a real plan. Adam Haber has effectively reversed a horrific situation in the Roslyn School District as School Board Trustee. He has proven there are ways to cut costs without loss of personnel and most importantly, to strengthen academic resources for students. His innovations, to name a few, included refinancing a bond, implementing cooperative purchasing, and recycling and purchasing used equipment. School buildings are very large facilities to run. Adam Haber has first-hand experience with commercial space, ensuring these facilities are run smoothly and economically. His plan for energy performance for our schools will create a profound effect on the budgets of our school districts, helping students and taxpayers alike.
A Republican and a Democrat standing together these days is rare. Even though we are from different political parties, partisan politics could not have been further from our minds on October 29, 2012 and in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
It was immediately clear that this was not just another storm and that the challenges it placed on our residents and businesses—and on the entire region—were enormous. That’s why President Obama established the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, chaired by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan.
Last Monday, the Task Force released its Rebuilding Strategy to help guide federal investment in the region, marking an important new chapter in the region’s rebuilding effort.
On behalf of the Greater Long Island Running Club and the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, we would like to offer our sincere thanks to the residents of northwest Hicksville for their patience and understanding as several hundred runners made their way through their neighborhood at the Discover Hicksville Five Mile Run last Saturday, Aug. 17.
We were especially appreciative of the dozens of local residents who took the time to come out of their homes to cheer the runners one. Running five miles is not an easy task, and we are thrilled that so many of our Hicksville friends and neighbors became a part of the event in this way.
Sue Fitzpatrick, Greater Long Island Running Club
Marlo Signoracci, Hicksville Chamber of Commerce
I was recently speaking with one of my staff via cell phone as he walked his dog late in the evening. Unfortunately, we had to stop our conversation about a half dozen times as he waited for the noise from overhead aircraft to pass. So to those who ask me about airplane noise, yes, I do understand how aggravating it is. To be sure, I live with it every day, like most of you.
The problem becomes especially clear as many of us spend time outdoors with family and friends during the summer. Not that we don’t hear it when we’re in our homes. We do, but being outside just makes the problem that much more obvious. I guess you could call it par for the course when living next to three major airports, but it was never this bad, never this loud. That’s why I want you to know that I’m working to get something done about it.
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