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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

The smell of pine, wood and scented candles greet customers with a sense of home as they cross the wooden threshold to the Amish Craft Barn in Seaford. There they will find dolls, birdhouses, quilts, ceramic turkeys, hand-painted Christmas trees, oak furniture and other seasonal and holiday tchotchkes.

 

Massapequa natives Frank and Pam Hoerauf started The Amish Craft Barn & Gift Shoppe 20 years ago after an inspiring visit to Pennsylvania.

Holidays increase daily congestion 

While parking around LIRR train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town. 

 

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Sports

The Island Trees Cross Country teams continue their improvement in 2014. This year the girls’ team has a record of 8-2 and with their victories over Clarke and Wheatley High Schools, they clinched the Division Championship for the first time in Island Trees High School history.

 

The girls are led by senior Captain Angela Brocco who has been rewriting the girl’s record boards. Brocco set the school record for the Warwick Valley 5000 meter course on Sept. 20. 

This season the Girls’ Varsity Soccer Team at Division Avenue has the rare ability to fill every position on the field with a member of the senior class. All 11 seniors have made contributions to the success of this year’s squad.


Calendar

Turkey Cookie - November 21

Lost Nights - November 22

Town of Hempstead Meeting - November 25


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