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Nassau County fights takeover by the state

Nassau County won’t relinquish power to Albany without a fight.

Nassau County won’t relinquish power to Albany without a fight.

Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano vowed to sue to prevent the Nassau Interim Finance Authority board from taking over the county’s budget of $2.6 billion.

“I’m not going to give away our legal strategy, but we are definitely going to sue in the coming days,” Brian Nevin, senior advisor to the county executive told Metro. “Nassau County residents should be gravely concerned because of an impending property tax hike from NIFA. Nassau County’s strengths are its diversity and bipartisanship and we’d like to keep it that way.”

Wednesday’s decision by NIFA to seize control over Nassau’s finances strips Mangano of budget power. It could possibly lead to a wage freeze for thousands of county employees.

A state takeover means Nassau County residents should expect cutbacks in some form or another, although specifics aren’t yet clear.

“It’s likely that there will be effects,” David Green, a Hofstra political science professor told Metro. “Cutbacks on services are imminent.”

Some see the state takeover as a blow to the Tea Party, which trumpets fiscal prudence and enthusiastically backed Mangano when he began his campaign in the spring of 2009 against Thomas Suozzi.

But Nevin defended his boss. “The Tea Party is united and believes in the same qualities and tax principles as Edward Mangano,” he said.

While there is no time limit on NIFA’s control, the board gave the county a Feb. 15 deadline to produce a balanced budget.

 
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