As an oversight board pondered a takeover of Nassau County’s finances, Comptroller George Maragos last week said the county’s budget is not only in balance but its structural problems have improved.

However, according to Maragos, “The 2011 budget, although balanced, contains above-average risks that will present [County Executive Ed Managano] with significant challenges to end the year in balance.” 

The comptroller projected that Nassau would end calendar 2010 with a surplus of more than $65 million and that the $2.59 billion 2011 budget was balanced, though it contained risks, including $61.3 million of union concessions that have been under negotiation.

According to the statement from Maragos, which included charts and graphs, projected spending will grow more slowly under the budget and financial plan than it has since 2006 when county spending was $2.4 billion.

The county expects to borrow $234 million in 2011 and make further reductions in out years, according to the statement. Borrowing — excluding sewer projects — grew to $362 million in 2010 from $324 million in 2009.

“The total amount of budgetary risk items are in line with those of previous years which were deemed manageable by the Nassau Interim Finance Authority,” Maragos said, referring to the oversight board.

At a Dec. 30 meeting, NIFA asked the county to provide additional budget information by Jan. 20.

According to a letter from NIFA, which was published on Newsday’s website, the oversight authority asked for additional information on labor contracts, budget cuts and contingency plans, and fund balances so that they may be reviewed by the agency’s financial adviser, Grant Thornton LLP.

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