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Nassau County Comptroller’s Report

Budget Holds The Line On Spending And Taxes

The adopted $2.8 billion Nassau County budget for fiscal year 2013 represents a 0.2 percent decrease in spending compared to the 2012 budget. For the third consecutive year, the budget holds the line on property taxes with no increase.

The budget is fiscally conservative containing only $60.1 million of revenue and expenditure items considered as having risk. This is the lowest amount of budgetary risk in over four years. The $60.1 million at risk is comprised of $39.1 million in possible lower revenues and $21 million in possible higher expense. This level of risk is about 2 percent of the total budget and should be manageable. 

Using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) as defined by the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA), the projected risk is $125.1 million. However, the NIFA GAAP risk still represents an 11 percent improvement over 2012 and a 32 percent improvement from 2009. The distinction between the risk as presented under the budgetary basis and the NIFA GAAP basis is attributable to the different treatment of certain revenues and expenses. NIFA GAAP excludes certain income from investments, bond premiums and bond proceeds used to pay expenditures.

The adopted 2013 budget continues the improving fiscal trends established over the last three years by:

• Reducing the Structural Gap to less than $35 million, an 86 percent improvement from the peak in 2009 of $252 million;

• Controlling spending to just 1.3 percent over recurring revenues, the lowest margin since 2004;

• Reducing borrowing to $140 million, approximately 44 percent lower than the average annual borrowing over the prior 5 years, primarily for capital project investments.

The principal budgetary challenges facing the county are its low fund balance, which stood at $40.5 million at the end of 2011, the continuing skyrocketing pension contributions, and the unrelenting increases in state and federal mandated costs. At the same time, the county revenues are essentially flat due to the weak economy. The rating agencies have noted these challenges, evidenced by a Moody’s downgrade in October. The administration, NIFA and the legislature need to work together to address these growing challenges in 2013 and beyond.


News

Nassau County drivers are up in arms due to the recent implementation of school zone speed cameras, which have issued numerous violations since they were installed just weeks ago. The source of residents beef with the county’s speed cameras stems from the cameras issuing speed violations even when school wasn’t in session.

 

Director of Nassau County Traffic Safety Chris Mistron said that while some residents were taken by surprise, summer school hours are still considered a violation period. 

One local mom was concerned about her shy daughter’s first acting class at the newly opened Neighborhood Entertainment Arts and Theatre (NEAT) at 166 Center Lane in Levittown; but after her daughter’s lesson with Theatre Director Watson Miller, she was surprised to hear her daughter broke out of her shell, singing not one, but two songs for the class. 

 

“My husband has a very special gift with kids,” Koula Miller said. “He brings out the best in them.” 


Sports

Golfer Annie Park, 19, of Levittown came close at the U.S. Women’s Amateur tourney, but missed the cut, finishing at 149, 9 strokes over par and just one stroke away from the match-play cut-off. 

 

“I couldn’t make any putts, so then I had more pressure into my shots to get it closer,” Park said, “but obviously that’s not going to work.”

It might not be what you think of as a traditional sport, but at Eisenhower Park people are doing flips in the air and dangling from harnesses, training at I.FLY, a recreational flying trapeze and circus arts program.

 

Anna Marie Cagnazzi is a fairly new convert. “I love the freedom that I feel and the sense of accomplishment that I get,” Cagnazzi said. “Everyone always cheers, and I feel so good about myself. You don’t get to feel that in your everyday life.”

 

Over a year ago the 30-year-old Bethpage resident had no idea that a regular person could trapeze recreationally. Then a co-worker suggested they try a I.FLY class together. 


Calendar

BOE Meeting - August 13

Job Fair - August 13

Liverpool Shuffle - August 14 


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com