Nassau comptroller to analyze impact of COVID-19 on county finances

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The office of Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman has launched a probe into the financial impact the coronavirus will have on the county's government. (Photo courtesy of the comptroller's office)

The office of Nassau County Comptroller Jack Schnirman has launched an analysis of the impact the coronavirus has had on the county government’s financial state.

The study will provide a series of projections on critical revenues so that county officials can prepare for recovery once the coronavirus pandemic ends.  Schnirman said that as of now his office does not have a handle on how severe the coronavirus’ impact would ultimately be.

COVID-19 is an unprecedented threat to the health and safety of our community as well as our fiscal health. It is a big challenge to project financial impacts as we do not yet know how long this will last or how deep the hole will be,” he said.

As of March 30, the county had allocated $2.8 million and spent $1.6 million in coronavirus-related expenses, according to the comptroller’s office.  Those expenses include ventilators, hospital beds and cleaning services.

The analysis will provide projections of various models related to economic variable revenues, including sales tax and various fees, according to the comptroller’s office. 

The data on the Open Nassau Transparency Platform contains the county’s 2020 adopted budget and projected revenues, while the county’s Open Checkbook from 2016-2019 provides figures to compare to 2020 numbers.

County sales tax revenues, according to the comptroller’s office, were exceeding expectations in the first quarter of 2020 after performing strongly in 2019.  The analysis will provide projections and assess what potential measures may need to be considered to aid the county in mitigating negative impacts on the government’s finances.

“This analysis is vital. We cannot afford to take uninformed guesses or leave things to chance,” Schnirman said. “We all need to be equipped with the best data and trends that we can analyze so that the county can fulfill its obligations, protect its workforce, and deliver essential services to all residents in this time of great need.”

The comptroller’s office will also look to partner with local governments throughout Long Island to share analysis and information on the financial impact the coronavirus has had in other municipalities. Schnirman said he will be organizing teleconferences with leaders from local governments to begin assessing what they are witnessing.

“This crisis is impacting every local government, and my office can serve as a resource to provide data and guidance so that governments can proactively analyze the variables and ultimately ensure that essential services people depend on continue as we move forward,” he said.

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