Nassau County’s financial control board asked county officials last Wednesday to make plans for major spending cuts in case the final county budget fails to meet the board’s standards.

In a letter, Adam Barsky, chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, told County Executive Edward Mangano and his administration to develop three contingency plans — one cutting $50 million in spending from the county’s $3 billion budget, another cutting $75 million and a third cutting $100 million.

NIFA wants the county to submit the plans by Nov. 16 and says they should contain “detailed initiatives that can be immediately implemented” to reduce spending, according to the letter.

The NIFA board of directors must approve the county’s annual budget and four-year spending plan. The plans could be implemented if NIFA ultimately rejects the budget, the authority says.

The letter was sent two days after the Nassau Legislature approved a budget that was short about $70 million in revenue from new and increased fees proposed by Mangano on which the Legislature did not vote, a move Barsky called “deeply troubling.” 

Presiding Office Norma Gonsalves has said lawmakers will fill the hole by Dec. 1.

Brian Nevin, a spokesman for Mangano, a Republican, said the Legislature will likely finalize a balanced budget at its Nov. 21 meeting.

“In the meantime, the deputy county executive for finance is reviewing NIFA’s letter and preparing contingencies should the Legislature not fund the budget they approved on October 31,” Nevin wrote in an email.

In a statement, Gonsalves said the Legislature has told NIFA of its plan to take more time to “evaluate potential budgetary alternatives that have been brought to our attention, and that all contemplated revenues would be in place well before fiscal 2017.”

Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Hempstead) said the NIFA letter indicates “the governing of this county has spiraled out of control.”

The letter foreshadows another showdown with NIFA after the authority last year rejected the 2016 budget, threatening major spending cuts and stricter controls before agreeing to a quarterly budget review process.

If NIFA rejects the final budget proposal, it will order county officials to revise it and present it to NIFA for another vote.

A NIFA report last month said Mangano’s proposed budget contained $217 million in risks and found it would result in a deficit of $99.5 million according to generally accepted accounting principles, which do not count borrowing as operating revenue. 

Among the risky revenue was $64 million from a proposed “public safety fee,” a widely panned $105 surcharge for all traffic and parking tickets.

Mangano’s budget proposed about $83 million in revenue from dozens of new and increased fees. The Republican-controlled Legislature this week struck $9.2 million of that and cut spending by about the same amount.

Mangano will be involved in budget talks in the coming weeks following his indictment last month on federal corruption charges. He has pleaded not guilty and denied any wrongdoing.

By Noah Manskar
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