Republican legislators presented amendments to Nassau County Executive Laura Curran’s proposed 2022 budget on Tuesday.
According to Curran, the proposed $3.5 billion budget will cut property taxes by $70 million next year. Majority officials proposed to have Curran’s budget reduce taxes by an additional $50 million to make it a total of $120 million. Curran said surplus funds in the 2019 budget ($145 million) and the 2020 budget ($128 million) will allow the county to cut taxes in 2022.
Majority officials also called for Curran, a Democrat, to sign legislation that would eliminate roughly $100 million in county fees. The GOP-backed bill was passed 11-0 last week and, if approved by Curran, would eliminate the $350 tax map verification fee and the $55 public safety fee as well as reduce the $300 recording fee to $50.
Legislators also called for the elimination of $1.1 million for seven of Curran’s public relations employees and other political patronage positions. Officials also called for the establishment of a countywide rodent extermination program.
“The Republican Majority’s amendments to the County Executive’s budget cuts property taxes by an additional $50 million bringing the total tax cut to $120 million, removes $100 million dollars in county fees and removes wasteful political patronage positions in the county executive’s budget,” Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello (R-New Hyde Park) said in a statement.
“These fee and tax cuts will help our seniors, veterans and working-class families by providing much needed financial relief when they need it most,” Legislator Bill Gaylor (R-Lynbrook) said.
County spokesman Michael Fricchione said Curran’s budget proposal effectively serves the needs of Nassau residents and prioritizes finances better than the previous administration led by former County Executive Edward Mangano.
“County Executive Curran proposed a thoughtful, balanced budget that delivers significant tax relief to every resident hard-hit by the pandemic, not the same old political talking points based on made-up revenue projections that the Majority and Ed Mangano used to drive our County’s finances into the ground,” Fricchione said in an email to Blank Slate Media.
County officials said the $128 million in surplus funds from the 2020 budget will be used to “grow depleted reserves” for whenever the county experiences the “next downturn.” Officials also said the budget remains balanced without the expectation of further funds from the American Rescue Plan, despite Curran’s seeking them.
The budget also features an overall spending increase of $200 million from the $3.3 billion 2021 budget. The increase includes an additional $45 million allocated to public safety investments, Curran said.
Some of the expenditures Curran planned include costs to implement the Police Department’s body camera program, funding for future collective bargaining agreements and wage increases, two police classes and two corrections classes for newly sworn officers.
Curran said the proposal also calls for 70 new positions in the department. If approved, it would be the first time the department expanded the number of sworn officers in more than a decade.