Nassau County Plans Layoffs, Cuts To Close Budget Gap

MINEOLA, N.Y. (AP/CBSNewYork) – Officials in an affluent suburban New York county announced $121 million in budget cuts Wednesday, including employee layoffs and service reductions, in response to a takeover by a state fiscal watchdog.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who lost a court challenge earlier this week opposing the takeover by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, said he is slashing the county’s $2.6 billion budget rather than calling for a 21.5 percent property tax increase.

“That’s not happening,” Mangano said. “The last thing Nassau County residents need in these tough economic times is a double-digit tax increase.”

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall with comment from Mangano

Mangano said he would present a detailed proposal on the $121 million in cuts to the county legislature next week, but said “hundreds of people” could be affected. He also said some staff cuts will come through attrition – not filling positions currently open. Although some municipal contracts have provisions barring layoffs, he said NIFA’s unanimous vote in January to impose a “control period” on county finances would supersede those contract provisions.

“There are draconian cuts coming to Nassau County – it is pain that is going to be shared sacrifice,” Mangano told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan. “It’s going to affect county services, county employees – it is very tough times.”

1010 WINS Reporter Mona Rivera on Mangano’s “draconian” proposed budget

The affluent county east of New York City has about 9,000 employees.

“Anxiety, frustration and sadness is what I am hearing from my members,” said Jerry Laricchiuta, president of the Civil Service Employees Association, which represents about 6,500 county workers.

Police, corrections and other unions account for the remainder of the work force.

“We have people who are very frightened; they don’t know if they are going to be able to stay in their homes,” Laricchiuta said. “We’re not the problem; we’re taxpayers, too.”

Mangano, a first-term Republican who ran as a “tax revolt” candidate, also said he will seek approval from NIFA for a wage freeze, which would account for $10 million in savings.

NIFA Chairman Ronald Stack did not immediately return a call seeking comment, but the agency announced it would meet March 24 to review the latest proposal.

“At the end of the day, the answer is we’re going to get laid off,” Laricchiuta told McLogan. “It’s sad and it’s scary.”

Mangano has steadfastly contended the county’s 2011 spending plan is balanced, but NIFA auditors cited a $176 million gap. The county executive said his detailed proposal next week would explain how the remaining $55 million gap not included in his $121 million proposal would be closed.

Some of Nassau County’s fiscal mess is attributed to a convoluted property tax assessment system.

In an arrangement created decades ago, the county pays refunds to property owners who claim their school tax assessments are too high, even though the county has no say in the operation of schools. That forces Nassau to borrow $100 million annually to refund homeowners.

Mangano said NIFA will no longer allow the county to borrow that money, putting additional pressure on his budget.

Nassau also has had to contend with the widespread effects of the Great Recession: shortfalls in sales tax revenue, increases in employee health care and social services costs, police overtime and other issues. But it also is strapped with lavish union contracts; more than half of the county’s 2,400-member police department earned more than $150,000 last year.

More from Jennifer McLogan
  • e

    I can’t believe nassua county police officers are getting paid over 150,000 a year.’
    They should take a pay cut. And please don’t say that they work harder than nyc police officers. I would rather have two police officers patroling the streets compared to one making over 150000

  • Bob

    As a county worker, I’m tired of being the ones that always has to give back. You didn’t raise my taxes, but if you did it would be cheaper for me and my family. I feel all who live in the county should bear the burden of the county as equal Nassau county citizens not just Nassau county employers bearing the burden of Nassau county problems.

  • Craig

    Social Service: Does anybody know- if not I will tell you, The Salaries paid to Social Service employees are on the most part reinbursed by the federal gov’t and state. Tax account for only a small part of what is in a paycheck.

  • Annie Shortino

    I would like to know where the $50 million the county executive claims we have in reserve came from. It was never mentioned when he was touting government lay-offs, but now he’s blaming NIFA for the lay-off threats. We operate with staffing levels of the 1950s but a population twice that! I work in DSS which is a melting pot of people in need. I get cursed out in many languages as a result of the historical ineptness of our county. I live & work here but can not afford to buy a home here. Stop blaming & take responsibility!

    • Annie Shortino

      oops my bad

  • marx engels

    The police salaries come nowhere near the deficit. ALL YOU RICH NASSAU RESIDENTS STOP GETTING OVER AND PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE, NO MORE TAX APPEALS OR DEALS! IMPEACH MANGANO! Nassau Social Services pay their people peanuts.

  • Auburn Dale

    “There are draconian cuts coming to Nassau County – it is pain that is going to be shared sacrifice,” Mangano told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan.

    Of course, Mangano himself won’t “share the sacrifice” – but he’ll make sure that other people do.

  • not the cops

    not one 150k cop will be laid off – if by chance they are, they will receive bizarre payouts- lotto type payouts- that is how it works in nassau- you would think one of these pols one day would have the balls to fix it, when you see the likes of christie gaining national attention and respect – we will have to wait and see if mangano has balls or if he is just another long island puppet pol .

  • Carlos Liriano

    for the lousy job the police do in Nassau county the police should not be making $150,000.00 a year, that is way to much, pay them the same as cops in NYC

    • billy thompson

      i agree

    • Auburn Dale

      At least Nassau County cops are allowed to live IN Nassau County. The NYC police unions are very hostile to the idea of their members living within the City limits, except maybe for Staten Island. (That’s because any cop who lives here undermines the argument that cops can’t afford to live here.)

      • CA

        People understand Most of your tax goes to pay for the Schools, The school dist. should hand out condoms when they say “It is for your children” and then put it in their pocket. What a joke – and guess what Nifa can not do anything about it. Mangano should incress taxes for the money he needs, BEFORE the schools start crying and demand it.

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