Nassau County residents sent a clear message on Nov. 5, overwhelmingly approving of the job County Executive Ed Mangano has been doing by giving him an 18-point margin of victory over Tom Suozzi. Mangano keeps the job he won from Suozzi in an upset four years ago.
Voters also gave their seal of approval to the County Legislature, returning all incumbents and preserving — even increasing — the Republican majority. Mangano and members of the Legislature now must respond to their mandate with action.
There are several issues they must address soon, and how well these issues are handled will likely determine the county’s future. We ask Mangano and the legislators to roll up their sleeves, work together and begin solving these problems.
The county’s assessment system has been the bane of several administrations. County executive after county executive has tried to repair the system, but come up short. It is responsible for hundreds of millions of dollars in county debt.
We need Mangano & Co. to devise a workable solution. He has made some headway. Corrections to the tax rolls for residential property are being made immediately, so they don’t appear year after year. This has cut down on the refunds paid to homeowners.
The commercial assessment system is where the biggest refunds are generated, and little has been done to fix problems there. Trying to get schools, towns and special districts to pay their share of refunds has become a losing proposition, as the county has failed in two attempts to do that in court. Dropping its latest efforts to shift the refund burden would be a good move.
Mangano and the Legislature must also find a way to pay back the refunds that are owed. Keeping money that home and business owners are entitled to, simply because government can’t agree on a repayment plan, is unacceptable.