Curran submits tentative budget

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Nassau County Executive Laura Curran

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran submitted a tentative budget for fiscal year 2020 on Tuesday that has no property tax hike. 

The $3.56 billion budget is an increase of 2 percent, or $72 million, from the projected budget for the current fiscal year. 

Curran said that while the budget is fiscally responsible, it allows the county to make investments in operations to improve housing, sustainability and transportation, and increase efforts to heighten collaboration with towns and villages to save taxpayer dollars. 

The county executive’s budget calculated the budget anticipating a growth of 1.9 percent in the county’s sales tax revenue, which is a “conservative” projection, her office said in a news release. 

Curran’s budget requires approval from the Nassau County Legislature.

Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello, who heads the Republican majority in the Legislature, said in an email: “The Majority will closely review the County Executive’s budget to ensure it is fiscally responsible and does not put additional burdens on Nassau taxpayers.” 

One investment in the budget the county highlighted included the Belmont Park Arena, which is expected to generate $2.7 billion in economic revenue and 3,200 permanent, full-time jobs. For Nassau alone, it is projected to bring in $25 million in new tax revenue. 

Other noted investments include new concession services at county parks and seeking advertising opportunities and naming rights at park facilities to generate revenues. 

The budget includes further investment in resurfacing the county’s roads, construction of the new county police training facility, a new family court and a project to clean up the western bay marshes between Long Beach and the mainland. 

An improvement to county operations that the county executive proposed was to centralize accounts receivable in the treasurer’s office. Currently, the duty is shared by multiple departments, she said, and centralizing the process would result in increased collections, standardized processing, timely posting, improved customer service and reduced costs. 

Curran also proposed funding to implement electronic payment processing for county vendors, which she said would provide the county with extra control and management of cash. 

The tentative budget includes a rise in funding for the Office of Housing, which would allow the hiring of three new full-time staff members and to allocate more toward transportation to expand Nassau Inter-County Express bus services.

The county executive plans to increase efforts to determine where collaboration may save taxpayer dollars, as stated in her news release. The savings generated through sharing services may be eligible for a one-time match from the state. 

Money for the Department of Public Works to hire two new employees to help in the review of development proposals is also included in Curran’s tentative budget. The two employees would aid in expediting a critical review of the county’s development approval process. 

The county will implement a new sewer tax in 2020, under which some property taxpayers will see an increase in their sewer tax and others will see a decrease. The county executive said that the rebalancing plan is to correct an error made under former Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano’s administration where expenses were incorrectly distributed among the county’s three sewer zones.

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