“This budget protects families and seniors while also paving the way for continued economic growth by holding the line on property taxes for a fourth year in a row and by cutting spending so that we never return to the poor fiscal policies of the past,” said County Executive Mangano. “After three hard years of shared sacrifice, 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 progress we have made over the past three years ensures we never return to the days in which Nassau taxed too high, spent too much and reformed too little.”
Protecting residents from a property tax hike is more important than ever as families and seniors have faced daunting challenges, most notably the devastation wrought by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene and the lingering economic impacts from the recent recession. County Executive Mangano’s policies of freezing property taxes, coupled with the elimination of the Home Energy Tax, have saved taxpayers $495 million from the financial plan of the prior administration.
“Reforms over the past four years have truly set forward a path of recurring savings without the need for recurring property tax hikes,” concluded County Executive Mangano. The Mangano administration has successfully reduced spending even while pension costs have more than doubled since County Executive Mangano assumed office and health insurance costs for family coverage have escalated to $21,000 per County employee in 2014.
Faced with these harsh realities, County Executive Mangano chose to cut expenses rather than tax already overburdened County residents. As a result of strong fiscal management, the County’s budgeted workforce is 7,395 positions for 2014, a 20.4% reduction from 2009 authorized levels. The choices made were tough, but necessary to protect and energize the local economy. In fact, County Executive Mangano was awarded with the top New York State Local Government Efficiency and Cost Cutting award in 2013. Public-private partnerships have also played a vital role in controlling costs and restoring the County’s finances.
On January 1, 2012, the Mangano administration entered into a successful bus public-private partnership with Veolia Transportation that delivers bus service to Nassau residents at a cost that is $33 million less than what the MTA proposed and provides significant operational benefits. The Mangano administration was also able to generate savings for taxpayers by privatizing the delivery of inmate healthcare services at the Nassau County Correctional Center. The initiative with Armor Correctional Health Services commenced in 2011 and is generating annual savings of $7 million.
The extensive actions undertaken have firmly placed Nassau on the road to recovery. Nassau County’s unemployment rate has fallen below 6% for the first time since 2008 and is lower than both New York State and National numbers.
Hain Celestial chose to move its International Headquarters and its 500 jobs to Nassau County. Arizona Beverage Company, a cornerstone of the food and beverage industry, chose to keep its home in Nassau when it outgrew its corporate headquarters and needed a new facility. Nassau County is becoming the Hollywood East of the film and television production industry as Grumman Studios and Gold Coast Studios are both helping to contribute over $140 million annually in economic benefit to the local economy.
Most recently, County Executive Mangano announced a public-private partnership with Bruce Ratner’s Nassau Events Center team for renovation and continued operation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. In addition to creating new jobs and benefiting the local economy, this project will keep Nassau County as a destination for world-class sporting events, concerts and family entertainment for generations to come. Building on his efforts to help put people back to work and reduce citizens’ reliance on social services, County Executive Mangano launched a free job finding application – Nassau Works – that notifies job seekers of job opportunities. A similar application – Nassau Now – was launched by the Mangano administration to help residents better communicate with government. Technological upgrades have also taken place in the Department of Public Works so that residents can track snowplow operations during storms and know when roadways are clear for travel.