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DeRiggi-Whitton: ‘A Successful Monday’

Nassau County Legislator Delia DeRiggi-Whitton announced that she and her colleagues have successfully negotiated some very important wins for taxpayers and her local residents will soon benefit.

“Unpaid tax refunds, cut youth services and a vital public safety grant are all on the way to resolution after a productive Monday at the Nassau County Legislature,” DeRiggi-Whitton said.

She explained that at the Monday, June 24 session, the Legislature voted across party lines on a way to pay homeowners who have been long overdue for their tax refunds. Originally, county Republicans wanted to borrow hundreds of millions of dollars to pay tax refunds, but DeRiggi-Whitton said that Democratic lawmakers never got sufficient details on why such a high level of borrowing was needed. The Democratic caucus also wanted County Executive Mangano to reinstitute the “pay-go” practice of his predecessor. This means paying tax refunds partly out of operating money, instead of relying on borrowing for the whole expense.

“After holding out on borrowing and fighting for details on the correct amount of money and proper documentation on who was owed money, we were happy to get the number down to $40 million instead of well over $300 million,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “I also fought to get the county back to $20 million of ‘pay-go’ instead of borrowing the whole thing. I feel that since County Executive Mangano has not fixed the assessment system, we at least need to be responsible with refunds and not borrow away our children’s future.”

As part of the negotiation for approving this borrowing, DeRiggi-Whitton and her colleagues in the Democratic caucus fought for the restoration of youth services, which affect local groups like the Boys & Girls Club and the Youth Bureau. The Democrats got Republicans to reinstate these services, along with crucial health services, which County Executive Mangano recently cut.

Finally, a third huge success at Monday’s session involved winning community grants for Democratic areas. In the Glen Cove / Oyster Bay area, DeRiggi-Whitton was happy to get be the first official to secure a grant for a much-needed rescue boat that would service Oyster Bay and Long Island Sound through Bayville Fire Department. As the sad July 4 anniversary of an Oyster Bay boat tragedy approaches, DeRiggi-Whitton said this was one of several ways she is working to prevent similar fatalities on our waters. The need for this rescue boat comes directly from that tragedy. Bayville FD said they were called for that accident and have seen firsthand why they need to be able to respond to such emergencies with a large boat that can get divers and emergency workers on the scene quickly. The boat will also have the capability to put out fires.

Legislative Chief of Staff Dave Gugerty of Bayville, who worked with Delia on the negotiations and the grant said, “Having spoken to my neighbors who volunteer in the Bayville Fire Department following last year’s tragedy, I know that this boat will be used immediately to protect boaters and their families.”

DeRiggi-Whitton and Gugerty are meeting with Bayville FD to try to help secure the rest of the grant money needed to get such a boat out on our waters as soon as possible.

“All in all, I am just glad to share some positive developments with my constituents,” DeRiggi-Whitton said. “You do have someone in government fighting for you.”