Nassau County, N.Y., fee cut proposals face control board blockade

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Nassau County lawmakers are seeking to remove $60 million in fee increases proposed for next year’s $2.99 billion budget, setting up a potential showdown with a New York State fiscal monitoring board.

Legislative Republicans and Democrats have filed separate bills this week looking to remove outgoing County Executive Ed Mangano’s plan to raise surcharges on traffic tickets by $55 to raise $35 million. Legislators from both sides of the political aisle are also looking to cut from the budget $25 million of new or increased real estate transaction fees.

Both plans face resistance from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, which has controlled county finances since 2011. The legislature faces a deadline of Oct. 30 to pass a budget, which would then need to be approved by NIFA.

“By removing vital revenue increases and relying on projections that are too aggressive, the budget is no longer responsibly balanced and NIFA will have no choice but to reject the document if the amendments are adopted,” NIFA chairman Adamy Barsky said in a statement. “NIFA is reaching out and making itself available for a constructive dialogue to offer a path forward.”

To make up for the lost fee increase revenue, Republicans are proposing a plan that includes restructuring certain county debt that they say could provide savings of $7.8 million in 2018 and net present value savings of $38.1 million in the current interest rate environment along with adopting cost-saving measures proposed by NIFA. Democrats are proposing using $35 million in bond premium and slashing police overtime to help make up the budget gap from the absence of fees.

NIFA has rejected past initial budgets due to uncertain revenue assumptions. The large suburban county on Long Island is rated A2 by Moody’s Investors Service and A-plus by S&P Global Ratings.

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Budgets County of Nassau, NY New York