Nassau County, New York, is stepping up borrowing plans to spearhead capital projects highlighted by a new police academy.
The county legislature unanimously approved $154 million of bonding projects Monday that includes $54 million for a new police training center on the campus of Nassau Community College in East Garden City.
The 89,000-square-foot facility will replace an academy located in an old elementary school that the Long Island county has leased for $700,000 per year since 2007 with roughly $8 million spent on rent. A groundbreaking is slated for this fall.
“We will build a first-class facility to train our police recruits and continue Nassau County’s highest standards for policing,” Nassau County Executive Laura Curran said in a statement. “Our police department personnel deserve the best training possible.”
Nassau County is directly east of New York City. Some of the features planned for the new training facility include an intelligence lead development center, a 500-seat auditorium, an emergency vehicle operations course and multi-purpose classrooms.
The borrowing for a new police academy was approved as part of an amended 2016 capital plan that allows Nassau to tackle numerous infrastructure improvements to the county’s jail, roads, sewers, parks and developing a master plan for an opioid treatment center.
A new multi-year capital plan covering projects for the next four years is slated to be presented this fall by Curran, who took over as county executive in January.
“You don’t have to be a stranger to Nassau County to see that some of the roads are in disrepair; some of the infrastructure is in disrepair,” Legislative Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, D-Freeport, said during Monday’s meeting. “I’m not saying this particular capital plan will address everything in one shot, but it goes a step in the right direction.”
Nassau County is planning to take on new debt after finishing the 2017 fiscal year with strained finances including a negative $68.8 million rainy day fund and $122 million deficit, according to a new comprehensive annual report released in early July. The report noted that the county entered 2018 with more than $500 million of outstanding tax certiorari liabilities and nearly $400 million of owed litigation payments.
Curran will be proposing her first operating budget this fall, which must be approved by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a New York State fiscal control board that has controlled the county’s finances since early 2011. NIFA, which was first formed in 2000, rejected a $2.99 billion 2018 fiscal year budget last December because of uncertain revenue assumptions with Curran then submitting a revised spending plan on March 15.
Nassau is the sixth-most-populous county in New York with an estimated 1.3 million people. The county’s general obligation debt is rated A2 with a stable outlook by Moody’s Investors Service and A-plus with a stable outlook by S&P Global Ratings.