Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano doesn’t plan to raise property taxes in 2014, according to his newly released $2.79 billion county budget. His administration would, however, borrow more than $1.4 billion next year to pay for the county’s projects and expenses.
A Mangano press release accompanying the budget touts the county executive’s efforts to keep property taxes flat, as he has every year since taking office in January 2010. Mangano’s budgetary policies lean toward the conservative side in several ways. His 2014 budget marginally reduces spending, cutting early-childhood intervention and special-education services. His administration has eliminated 20 percent of county employees during his tenure, and it privatized the county’s bus service and the delivery of health care to inmates at the Nassau County Correctional Facility.
Mangano has worked to “reduce citizens’ reliance on social services,” the release stated. “Nassau County is on a firm, stable path because of the tough and difficult choices we’ve made to cut spending and implement successful public-private partnerships.”
The release, though, did not mention that the Mangano administration has financed the county’s expenses with billions of dollars of debt. A table of figures and dates in a small font on page 56 of the county’s 2014-2017 multi-year plan explains how much the county would borrow in 2014 under Mangano’s budget: $976 million for short-term cash flow, including $526 million for Hurricane Sandy-related costs, and $449 million for capital borrowing, including $230 million to pay property-tax refunds.
Nassau Democrats were quick to criticize the borrowing. “This is simply bad budgeting based on billions of dollars in new borrowing –– and our children can’t afford it,” said Tom Suozzi, a Democrat who preceded Mangano as county executive and who will once again face him at the ballot box this November, in a statement to the Herald. “It is no wonder we’ve experienced three bond downgrades, a control board takeover and two successive deficits.”