County Executive

Posted on: September 19, 2018

CURRAN SUBMITS BALANCED, NO PROPERTY TAX INCREASE BUDGET

MINEOLA, NY—Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today released her 2019 no property tax hike budget. The $3.5 billion budget provides funding for a fully functioning Department of Assessment, public safety, special programs and NICE Bus. However, the outstanding tax certiorari debt, continues to hold Nassau County back from restoring true fiscal health.


“Nassau County is operating on a bare bones budget. I am holding each department to a tight fiscal discipline,” said Curran. “The balanced Fiscal Year 2019 County Budget submitted today does not include a property tax increase. It pays for the services we are delivering now with current revenue.”


“The single most important investment in the budget is the revitalization of the County’s Department of Assessment,” said Curran. “While it is going to take some time and a lot of hard work to clean up the mess I inherited, I am ready to do what it takes to get Nassau County on the right track. With 100 new staff hires, we will keep the assessment roll current every year.”


Curran’s proposed 2019 budget addresses the corruption of the assessment roll from the prior administration’s seven-year frozen tax roll. With the completion of a reassessment through the systematic review contracts, Nassau County will have an updated assessment roll. The budget funds public engagement to answer questions from property owners.


Further, this bare-bones budget features carefully-targeted new investments that will improve and expand what the County will deliver to residents and businesses in the upcoming year. The budget also makes clear that the enormous financial burden of prior year tax cert debt must be bonded and the debt service for $300M in bonding is included in this budget. In June 2018, the Nassau County Legislature did not approve a home rule vote which would have allowed NIFA to issue tax cert debt. Now the funding needed to erase the prior year’s tax cert debt must be issued by the County.


Some of the budget’s key points include:

  • Nassau County will be Customer-Friendly
    • The budget addresses re-staffing the depleted Department of Assessment which will enter a completely new phase of outreach and interaction with property owners.
    • This budget supports a program called Prognose, which will enable staff to be responsive to residents’ questions ang concerned about the property assessment system.
    • The DOA must be prepared to respond to thousands of inquiries from property owners in a timely and transparent matter. Prognose has the features necessary to achieve the County’s goals of increasing the accuracy of the County’s assessments, improving the transparency of the assessment process, and enhancing the Department of Assessment’s capability to respond to property owners who have questions about the new tentative assessment rolls.
    • Key among these features is the ability to display comparables on a case by case basis, access to historical modeling data used to establish current baselines, and the generation of understandable reports to educate property owners on the assessment of their specific property. In addition, Prognose will give DOA the ability to develop in-house models in the future that reflect changes in the County’s real estate environment to ensure that the most accurate assessment models continue to be used.
  • Paying for the Past
    • The budget must fund more than $175 million in payments on over $1.1 billion in bonds issued by the prior administration
    • Funding tax debt service for past due cert payments in the amount of $300M. Currently Nassau County is facing almost $1 billion in cert debt.
  • Infrastructure Investments for a 21st Century Nassau County
    • New police academy
    • New family court building
    • Improvements on county-owned land
  • Investments in Public Safety and Criminal Justice
    • Staffing for the Raise the Age initiative. Under this program the criminal court system will no longer incarcerate juvenile offenders aged 16 and 17 in adult facilities.
    • Improved efficiency of criminal justice administration with the use of technology to monitor non-violent defendants and probationers
    • The opening of a new crime lab, which will eliminate the costs of using an outside testing company in drug cases
  • Investments in Labor
    • Supporting state legislation which assures newly-hired County employees can rely on scheduled increases in compensation to make certain that our employee compensation will remain competitive and attract well-qualified candidates
    • We are developing new revenue sources for future collective bargaining increases for our employees
  • Investments in Economic Development
    • Redevelopment of the Nassau Hub site has been a priority economic development initiative for my administration since my inauguration.
    • We are laser focused on finalizing our transformational plan to draw down over $85 million in State funding to support the development.
    • Our open, consultative process, including engagement with elected officials, local businesses and community leaders has helped us to get to this point. We are very pleased that NEC has come forward with a partner, RXR, and a game-plan to transform the Hub into a mixed-use innovation district.
    • The transformative project will help recruit and retain the workforce of tomorrow, cement the County’s role in the economy of tomorrow, create a coherent and unified neighborhood and activate retail and open space and increase activity at the site.
    • We will focus on transit-oriented development and promote walkability and address transit connections.
  • Investments in Criminal Justice
    • We will soon “Raise the Age” by ending the practice of incarcerating juveniles aged 16 and 17 in adult facilities.
    • The budget will make necessary investments in early intervention to divert 16 - 17-year-olds from entry into the criminal justice system and invest in educational and employment opportunities to help prevent recidivism and other issues such as housing support and mental health care.
    • We will also expand discharge planning services and re-entry services in conjunction with the NYS Office of Children and Family Services including family reintegration, housing assistance, mental health and medical continuity of care, educational and employment support. These investments are expected to be fully reimbursed by the State and will be developed with Suffolk County where appropriate under a shared services plan.
  • Investments in Shared Services to Maximize Efficiency 
    • The County is working on a partnership with the City of Long Beach to improve sewer connectivity, decrease excessive nitrogen discharge into the Western Bays and restore a way of life that has been all but eradicated.
    • Saving the Western Bays can generate millions in both commerce and tourism and jump start a fishing industry that has been unable to use the area for decades.
  • Investments to Improve Business Processes and Policies
    • It is time Nassau County become business-friendly and we are making necessary investments to ensure that County residents and businesses are able to access the services they need in multiple languages.
    • We will implement a new capital planning and management process and are investing in building the staffing infrastructure necessary to support an improved capital planning and management process. These details will be explained further when I submit multi-year capital plan later this year.
    • We will eliminate registration fees and eradicate the barrier to entry by small businesses, particularly Minority and Women Owned Business Enterprises (MWBE). Elimination of the Annual Vendor Registration fee is consistent with the County’s on-going efforts to make the procurement process more transparent, competitive, and inclusive.
    • At my direction of the the Department of Social Services (DSS) and the Department of Human Services (DHS) have begun the process of moving to multi-year awards for client services contracts solicited through the RFP and RFQ processes.
    • These multi-year contracts will not only provide continuity to the not-for-profits, but also decrease the cost of processing contracts by reducing administrative requirements, improving vendor cashflow, and reduce the need for costly financing arrangements necessitated by delays in contract and payment approvals.
    • We will create a new vendor portal to provide vendors access to a user-friendly multi-functional web portal to facilitate the processing of their contracts, claims, and permits. This Portal is being developed in stages. The first version, which is being released in September 2018, will allow vendors to submit their disclosure forms electronically, streamlining the submission and review process.


“These and other plans will help us move forward and deliver the services and programs Nassau County residents have come to deserve and expect,” said Curran. “Fixing the corrupt assessment system is a critical move in restoring fiscal health to Nassau County. But now is not the time to ask the taxpayers for more money. That is why I have put forth a no property tax increase budget.”

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