Citizens for a Better Nassau
May 21, 2019 1:00 a.m.
At the beginning of this year, Citizens for a Better Nassau County wrote about Nassau County’s utter failure to “right size” and regularly update its impact fees over many years to ensure that future growth pays for itself. We made a comparison to St. John’s County, which has seen significantly higher impact fee increases over the past 12 years as compared to Nassau County. The result has been the seriously deficient capital budget, the fact that for years the county’s operating budget has cannibalized its capital budget, and the relationship between the significant property tax increase levied last year partially as a result of the county’s failure to update its impact fees.
Of course, in time, it will happen again, unless we hold our county commission accountable for regularly updating impact fees assessed on new growth. We’ve also expressed some hope with the county’s retention of a consultant to analyze the adequacy of some of the impact fee ordinances particularly relating to long-range recreation planning. We rightfully noted that, given the long and sordid history of this issue and the county’s track record of dismissing the advice received from financial experts it retains, taxpayers should watch this issue closely and demand transparency.
It has now been months since the county retained this consultant. So we believe it is fair, on behalf of the taxpayers of Nassau County, to ask the county: Are you going to be transparent and show the results of the analysis? When? Are you going to enact a policy to revisit these fees regularly to ensure their adequacy?
We’re watching closely to see if progress is being made to effectively address the challenges presented by our inevitable population growth. Taxpayers deserve to know if the county is resolving this long-standing deficiency that will continue to grow worse if nothing is done.
Bill Gingrich is a retired GE executive and chairman of Citizens for a Better Nassau County.