County Executive Curran Manages Budget Surplus Amidst Unprecedented Financial Challenges
(MINEOLA, NY) March 8, 2021 – Nassau County Executive Laura Curran announced that Nassau County has delivered millions in local aid to residents and businesses while ending 2020 with an estimated $75 million budget surplus (according to the County’s Office of Management and Budget) after the County realized a better-than expected 8% decline in sales tax revenue and an expense reduction of $60 million due to NIFA restructuring. Curran maintained strong fiscal controls at the very beginning of the pandemic. Coupled with federal relief funds that were used to protect public health and safety, the County was able to deliver pandemic-related services, including providing free COVID-19 testing for thousands of residents and putting food on the table for over 30,000 families in need, all during a revenue shortfall, without cutting jobs or raising taxes.
“Throughout the pandemic, my administration has worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the community. From food and warm clothing distributions to testing and vaccination sites, Nassau put the necessary resources in place to meet the needs of the community during these unprecedented times. While I remain optimistic that the County is close to defeating this pandemic as more vaccine becomes available, I am extremely mindful of businesses and families that continue to struggle,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. “The County is committed to continuing to deliver these vital services to our residents, while continuing to be focused on a full economic recovery.”
The surplus is in large part due to the County Executive’s fiscal integrity, the complete utilization of CARES Act funding and other New York State and federal grants and the 2020 expense reduction from 2021 restructuring. This economic recovery strategy is helping the County to continue to meet the needs of residents throughout the pandemic and beyond without a property tax increase or reductions in services and lay-offs.
To ensure that the County continues to safeguard the public purse, County Executive Curran signed a local law in December 2020 creating a special revenue fund that will capture excess 2021 sales tax and any surplus resulting from federal pandemic aid. The County will use these funds for specified expenses, including tax certiorari settlements and judgments and other claims, to make up for lost State aid and to pay for unbudgeted COVID-19 response costs.
An additional $5 million of CARES funding was freed up after FEMA reimbursement guidelines were changed in January 2021 by the federal government, as well as $60 million in 2020 expense reductions after the County Legislature agreed in late 2020 to refinance NIFA and County debt. The bi-partisan restructuring plan is expected to result in further savings of approximately $285 million in 2021 and $150 million in 2022 with historically low interest rates.
Nassau County is utilizing approximately $195 million in federal CARES and FEMA grants to respond to the COVID-10 pandemic. Highlights of Nassau County’s response include:
“Nassau County will have a strong financial foundation for economic recovery as we emerge from the pandemic and will continue our robust public health and safety response,” said Curran. “This pandemic is not over, and our response must remain nimble for whatever new challenges get thrown our way.”