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NIFA Director 'Shocked' with Comptroller, County's Finances

A weekly look-in at the news of Nassau County.

The following is from Nassau Interim Finance Authority Director George J. Marlin:

The county comptroller’s declaration that Nassau ended fiscal year 2012 with a “miraculous” surplus was absurd. It was a mirage, not a miracle.

I am shocked that after three years in office the comptroller does not yet understand that a budget is balanced only when tax and fee income is equal to expenditures.

The claim that the county will end 2012 with a $25.5 million surplus was not measured on a GAAP basis, which is required by the NIFA statute, and was contrived by fiscal gimmicks that do not address the county’s structural deficit.

In 2012, the county kicked the fiscal time-bomb down the road by not paying $72 million in tax cert refunds, deferring $32 million in pension costs through the system’s amortization option, used $40 million in bonded termination costs and used $17 million from closed-out capital projects which had previously been funded through borrowings.

No one should be surprised that the county continues to ignore inconvenient fiscal facts. Let’s face it, the County has forfeited its credibility when it comes to fiscal matters. Lest we forget:

  • The county claimed it ended fiscal year 2010 with a balanced budget. This was false. The county had to borrow to cover revenue shortfalls.
  • The county claimed as late as Aug. 5, 2011 that its budget for that year was balanced. It was reported in New Times that the county CFO told the legislature that day, “the county will have a balanced budget in 2011 and if the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority continues to say otherwise, the State Authority should tell the county how to bring it into balance … ‘I know the budget is balanced when a big four audit company signs off on it.’” The county actually ended the 2011 fiscal year with $173.4 million GAAP deficit and a $50.4 million cash deficit.
  • The county was legally required to cut $150 million in recurring expenses in fiscal year 2012. The county failed to comply with this requirement and it had projected last fall that [in] the 2012 fiscal year the county would incur a $139 million GAAP deficit and a $25 million cash deficit.

And now the county wants us to believe they have suddenly incurred in 2012 a surplus?

As for its 2013 budget, it is a classic election year document designed to deceive voters. To get by in 2013, the county is ignoring the white elephant in County Hall—Commercial Property Tax Cert refunds. Only $18 million in refunds have been approved for fiscal 2013. These dollars will be allocated primarily to settle residential claims (a/k/a voters). Meanwhile, the backlog in Commercial Real Estate Tax Cert claims continues to grow. The county comptroller’s office has estimated that the backlog on Dec. 31, 2010 totaled $150 million; $223 million at the end of 2011; $306 at the end of 2012 and is projected to grow to $388 million in 2013. Other experts have suggested the number could be as high as $500 million by the end of this year.

Obviously the county has learned nothing since the control period began two years ago. This may explain why the county’s ratings have been downgraded and may very well be downgraded again. 

How Sandy Has Affected the Nassau Real Estate Market

The number of home sales on the south shore did in fact decline in the last quarter of 2012. In the last months of 2011, 166 home sales were reported, according to a report by real estate firm Douglas Elliman and appraisal firm Miller Samuel. The number of home sales decreased to 127 in the final quarter of 2012, a 23.5 percent decline. On the north shore, homes sales went from 415 in the fourth quarter of 2011 to 530 in 2012, an increase of 27.7 percent.

Click here to read Patch's full report on the post-Sandy real estate market.

Mangano Announces Nassau County Aquatic Center Spring Swim Lessons and Exercise Classes

Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano has released the spring session schedule for swim lessons, and land and aquatic exercise classes at the Nassau County Aquatic Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow. 

Swim lessons will be offered for all levels: Infant/toddler for ages 6-36 months (child must be accompanied in the water with an adult), Swim with Me for ages 3-4 (child must be accompanied in the water by an adult), Preschool Levels 1-3 for children ages 3-5 years, Levels 1-6 for children 6 and over, Teen/Adult for ages 13 and over, Adult Instruction for ages 18 and over, and Adapted Aquatic Classes for ages 5-8 (parent and child get in the water together). Classes are held Mondays through Sundays. Fees vary. 

Land exercise classes are held Monday through Sunday, with a varied schedule throughout the day and specific concentrations assigned to each time slot. The class offerings include Senior Power, Pilates, Spin-lates (Spinning and Pilates), Senior Wake-up and Dance, Cardio Kickboxing, Tai Chi, Healthy Back, Intense Body Transformation, Spinning, Yoga, Ultimate Core and Stretch, Total Body Express Circuit, Yin Yoga, Awesome Body Workout, Core and Stretch, Killer Kettleballs, Total Body Conditioning, Zumba, Big Dave’s Boot Camp, Cardio X-Training Circuit, Zumba Toning, Extreme Conditioning and Triathlon Training.  All classes are one hour unless otherwise noted. Fees vary per class. 

Personal Training is available for all facility members. Please contact David Graziosi at: dgraziosi@nassaucountyny.gov for more information.

Aquatic fitness classes are held Monday through Friday, with specific concentrations assigned to each time slot. The class offerings include Adult Fit Swim, Aquajog, Aquaerobics, Teen/Adult Fit Swim (ages 13 & over), Joint Efforts, and Aqua Zumba. Fees are $55 for 10 classes. Discounts for taking multiple Aquatic Fitness Classes are as follows: two classes per session is $11 off total, three classes per session is $24 off total and four classes per session is $40 off total.

Important Dates for the Spring 2013 Session:

  • Feb. 4: Lottery applications begin to be accepted for youth swim lessons.  All lottery registrations are final after they are entered. Please double check to confirm you are entering the correct level.
  • Feb. 10: Lottery applications due by 5 p.m.
  • Feb. 11: Registration for adult swim lessons, aquatic fitness and land fitness classes from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. There is no lottery for these classes – registration is first come, first serve.
  • Feb. 12: Lottery results will be available beginning at 9 a.m. Payment for class spots will be accepted starting today between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Important note: Enrollee is responsible for finding out if child won a class spot from the lottery. Aquatic center will not call you. Please call (516) 572-0501 for results. 
  • Sunday, Feb. 17: Payments for class spots are due by 5 p.m. Unpaid spots will be released to wait list enrollees.
  • Feb. 19: Waitlisted enrolled will start being called to fill in unpaid spots. Note: Please don’t call aquatic center; you will receive a call if a spot is available. 
  • Feb. 22: Last chance open registration begins at 8 a.m. for any remaining spots.
  • Feb. 25: First day of classes for the spring session.
Archie Bunker February 09, 2013 at 08:33 PM
All of you sound like Captain Renault in Casablanca Corruption is Nassau County ..... I'm shocked
Chris Wendt February 09, 2013 at 08:39 PM
George Marlin is an non-elected official charged with monitoring and approving County finances. He has no responsibility nor authority to actually run the County. That responsibility and authority belong to the County Executive, Ed Mangano. Those of you who do not agree with Ed Mangano's policies and practices will have yet another chance to try to elect someone else to serve as County Executive. I can almost guarantee that you will not see George Marlin or any other member of NIFA running for that office. Doing so, standing for election, and then actually taking the reins of County government upon being elected, that is a far different level of commitment and accountability than is presently required or exhibited by the members of NIFA.
Lorraine DeVita February 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM
Refresh my memory WHY exactly is NIFA here anyway? Are they in Westchester county? Putnam County? Suffolk county? Organge county? How come only Nass. county?
JOE February 09, 2013 at 08:53 PM
Lorraine , because Nassau county is one of the most corrupt counties in the country. The only thing we are missing are the peanuts and the elephants for a full blown circus that this county has become. We have the ringmaster, three rings and plenty of clowns.
David February 09, 2013 at 09:18 PM
Another question would be is why is there no STIFA, "State Interim Financial Authority" too.
robert February 09, 2013 at 10:01 PM
Sadly it will never change. Most apathetic residents are more concerned with the sports scores than how our county is run. Maybe we should have a free bus ride and a box lunch to get the lazy people off their couches and vote all these incumbent cronies out like the other taxpayer funded shady organizations do.
sadeto February 09, 2013 at 10:59 PM
What an asinine comment. Recipients of immigration amnesty can't vote. Recipients of free cell phones and food stamps don't vote.
sadeto February 09, 2013 at 11:09 PM
Lorraine it was created because the state bailed Nassau out in 2000.
Robert Demarco February 09, 2013 at 11:51 PM
It was created because the corrupt politicians use gimmicks instead of sound financial practices when budgeting and spending the peoples' money. The public funds are a giant piggy bank to these pols.
i.e. instructor February 10, 2013 at 12:26 AM
Is there some reason why the county cannot figure out a property tax system that is fair (besides the obvious reasons) so residents and companies should not have to apply for REFUNDS! why can't we apply for school tax refunds? or town or village tax refunds? it's time for a consolidated tax system...no more redundancy of services from town and county, and some new school tax structure.
ed February 10, 2013 at 01:46 AM
DUMP Mangano! Stop Nassau County REPUBLICAN CORRUPTION!
Dennis J. February 10, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Dear i.e. instructor, When you grieve (challenge) your county assessment you are applying for a reduction in and, depending on the timing of the decsion, a refund of your county, town and school taxes because they all use the county assessment. Villages can use the county assessment but typically prefer to use their own. Consequently, you can grieve your Village assessment, separately. 50 separate assessment systems! Think how much we could save if all used the county system.
sadeto February 10, 2013 at 03:52 AM
The system is a lot fairer than it used to be, when it used a decades-old means of assessing value that had no relation to current relative market values across districts. The problem is, the revised system leaves too much room for challenges based on changing market values. It's insane how much money they have to budget for refunds, it just doesn't make sense.
Sean Hassett February 10, 2013 at 05:16 AM
And do not forget that Mangano wanted to raise our already ridiculous property taxes to build a new stadium for the Islanders hockey team and wasted a couple of million dollars on a stupid referendum that was defeated, thankfully, because enough of us with sanity voted. Partisan politics aside, I take a good look at a candidate and have voted for Dems and GOP in the past. I'm finding more and more that the Republicans are out of touch, except for NJ Gov. Christie, a credit to his state.
Chris Wendt February 10, 2013 at 11:05 AM
Why is NIFA here? Here's why: http://www.nifa.state.ny.us/
i.e. instructor February 10, 2013 at 12:44 PM
Forgive my ignorance (and i'm not kidding..i'm from brooklyn where you get your tax bill and pay it...done!). Why don't they get the assessment right the first time and not allow a grievance procedure at all? I'm sure the tax attorneys would balk at such a recommendations since the cottage industry fueled by tax grievance is likely to be a well paid one. but still, why assess, tax, and then allow grievance procedures. all future taxes should be based on a one time grievance. wouldn't that assume that the correction is made and all subsequent taxes are based on that amount anyway? in other words, should i be grieving my assessment every year? if so, this is one messed up system and we need more than NIFA to help out. i would go so far as to suggest bloomberg come in and clean house...
sadeto February 10, 2013 at 02:33 PM
New York City's property tax assessment system is incredibly unfair in that all co-ops are estimated to be at least 20% under-assessed and extremely high-end condos pay a small fraction of their relative value. The key differences are the system does not allow for the same type of grievances and state law actually controls the way such units are assessed, so there isn't much you can do. In Nassau, as a result of the Federal lawsuit alleging decades of discriminatory assessment, the law actually encourages grievances.
Lorraine DeVita February 10, 2013 at 02:57 PM
What ironics- is every local politician in the local MACHINE is reading this and laughing their as---es off- because they are fully aware the control and fear they have over the worker bee's combined with the apathy here in Nass. county will supercede any voter outrage and will negate any call for implementation of change, Its not the Repubilcan party per say its the political PEOPLE locally who have corrupted the ideals of ANY political party. SWARMY IS SWARMY regardless of what name they go under. They could be dems they could be Rep. Thats what people fail to recognize. The caliber and ethics of the people holding these offices have a death grip on the politics.and the party and in all areas of the county. Its the PEOPLE elected not the party they belong to.
Clioscribe February 10, 2013 at 09:27 PM
Common sense? Absurdly uncommon.
Happy Feet February 10, 2013 at 11:05 PM
The GOP is presenting a revised map of election districts tomorrow, Mon, Feb.11 at 10am, at the County Legislature. The revised map is still gerrymandered, though not as badly as the first one. This map puts in jeopardy 4 Democratic districts and 2 Republican districts. It chops up the 5 Towns area, and affects Elmont, Hicksville, East Massapequa, Farmingdale, Glen Cove, Bellmore & Merrick, among others. Why? To ensure that the GOP retains its legislative stranglehold on Nassau County FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS despite the fact that registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 38% to 36%. If you really want to change County politics, go to the 10 am meeting tomorrow morning (Mon. Feb. 11) and demand FAIR REDISTRICTING so that the voice of the PEOPLE is heard!
Frank February 11, 2013 at 04:33 PM
@ Nassau Taxpayer. Yes Gulotta left a mess. But if you remember HE DID want to raise taxes. That was met with a firestorm : - Party members failed to back him up. - Death Threats - Advisors talking about "political suicide" yadda yadda yadda So he did what any politician would've have done. Don't raise taxes. And if my memory holds up, I distinctly remember many happy Nassau residents and never heard a complaint from anyone during those years. Problem was that the financial shenanigans that Gulotta employed would take 20 years to blow up. If we all bled a little with the tax increase Gulotta orignially intended to institiute, Nassau would be in better shape today.
John Rennhack February 11, 2013 at 10:11 PM
Ed Mangano is the reason NIFA is here. He voted for every bad Gulotta budget. He voted to approve the borrowing that brought NIFA in. Then he acts as though NIFA should have nothing to do with Nassau.
Robert Demarco February 12, 2013 at 09:11 PM
NIFA is here because of the incredibly corrupt and inept politicians, mostly Republican. These guys run the County for the benefit of themselves, their friends, and their benefactors. Did you ever wonder why a lawyer gives up a lucrative law career to become a politician? It makes no sense. They don't do it because they want to help; they want to raid the treasury and line their pockets. In my mind, politician is the leasdt regarded profession, and should not be a career.
S.M. February 13, 2013 at 09:07 PM
Chime in here Felix...shut Wendt up.
Robert Demarco February 13, 2013 at 09:13 PM
Check out the Patch story about Suozzi. Mr. Wendt thinks that Mangano has the contest won.
Chris Wendt February 13, 2013 at 09:20 PM
If its Suozzi vs. Mangano in November, then it is "in the bag" for Ed Mangano. Don't blame me. Thank Jay Jacobs! I am laughing out loud at the thought, the very idea, but especially the arrogance of a new Suozzi campaign. Preposterous!
Lorraine DeVita February 14, 2013 at 01:08 PM
- Woudnt it be interesting to see the mass exodus of rep. patronage cronies if souozzi wins - we could line the streets and seranade them with ."na na na nah na na na nah good bye- as they exit the gravey train ..Then we could welcome in the Dem patronage cronies- hopefuly at half price! A savings of indisputable proportions, at the very least a way to cut county spending significantly.....lol
John Rennhack February 15, 2013 at 05:21 AM
MArlin doesn't live in Nassau County. Marlin actually ran for NYC mayor so he has wanted to run things as an elected official. And other NIFA board member just got elected to the bench.
John Rennhack February 15, 2013 at 05:24 AM
Mangano ran on a "Plan" to "Save" Nassau County. And all he has done is made matters worse. More one-shots, the HUB failure, increased fees, etc, etc. Mangano is a mess. He puts more effort into a car show than he does bringing business to Nassau County.
Chris Wendt February 15, 2013 at 11:36 AM
Not funny. I remember when Eugene Nickerson was elected County Executive and a lot of really good people lost their jobs in that change of administration. That is a kind of hardship you should not wish upon anyone, especially not in this economy, and not in these difficult times. The replacement appointees sustained no reduction in the pay and perks of any position, and some got more money. The change of appointees to patronage positions is not done as a cost saving measure.

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