Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano proposed Monday cutting 200 county workers, cancelling $19 million in capital improvement projects and other moves to close a projected $45-million budget deficit this year.
Of the 200 workers to be cut, 62 have already accepted early retirement incentives. Mangano also plans to cancel nearly $4 million in discretionary contracts, nix more than $12 million in department purchases as well as cut the evening hours of the Department of Social Services and traffic violations bureau.
“People in Nassau County cannot afford to keep those jobs here in the county,” Mangano told reporters during a press conference at his Mineola office when asked what he would say to the workers being axed.
Mangano previously laid off 128 employees in June 2011 and another 262 in December. About 100 police officers also took early retirement incentives this year after Mangano directed the department to consolidate eight precincts into four. That’s in addition to 175 Nassau University Medical Center workers laid off in November by hospital management.
Presiding Officer Peter Schmitt (R-Massapequa) maintained that the GOP-controlled legislature will not raise property taxes, which are already second highest in the nation, to close the budget gap.
“The money that Nassau County collects from its annual budget is enough and we have to make it work,” Schmitt said.
Schmitt blamed the cuts on members of the Democratic legislative minority for not providing the three supermajority votes needed to borrow $41 million to pay property tax settlements.
Comptroller George Maragos, who joined his fellow Republicans Schmitt and Mangano for the announcement, also blamed Democrats and the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the control board that took over the county’s budget last year, when he released a report no the budget recently.
Democratic leaders said that the cuts are Mangano’s fault.
“Ed Mangano’s penchant for over-promising and under-delivering, complete inability to manage the budget and over-reliance on borrowing have driven Nassau County deeper and deeper into debt,” said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport). “These drastic cuts are his latest attempt to bail himself out of the hole he’s buried us in.”