GOVERNMENT

County hikes fees

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The Republican-controlled Nassau County Legislature on June 16 approved fee increases for many county services, including parks, museums, pools, golf, marinas and vendor registration. County Executive Ed Mangano, who proposed the fee hikes in May, signed them into law June 19.

The fee increases will raise $15 million in new revenue for the county, according to Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state financial control board, last month instructed Mangano to amend the county’s 2014-17 budget to show how the county would pay for contracts with four labor unions. NIFA pegged the contracts’ cost at $129 million over four years, according to a published report. The County Legislature’s nonpartisan budget review office estimated the cost at $120 million to $292 million.

The Legislature passed the fee hikes on June 16 in a 10-9 vote. All eight of the chamber’s Democrats voted against them, and 10 of its 11 Republicans voted for them. Legislator Michael Venditto, a Massapequa Republican, voted against the increases. He is running this year for State Senate against Legislator Dave Denenberg, a Merrick Democrat.

Mangano’s office last week referred questions about the fee hikes to the Legislature. Matthew Fernando, a spokesman for Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves, provided information about the vote, and Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams’s office provided information about the increases, but Gonsalves and Abrahams did not comment on the hikes.

Tim Sullivan, deputy county executive for finance, said in May that the bills raise the maximum fees county departments may charge, but the decision to implement fee increases rests with the departments.

‚ÄúMost of the fees bring the county on par with neighboring municipalities and defer the costs associated with delivering the service or making capital investments to improve the service,‚ÄĚ Sullivan stated in an email. ‚ÄúThis is not a tax increase.‚ÄĚ

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