There has been an ongoing, fundamental disagreement between the County Clerk and two County Commissioners and the County Management and Budget department and three Commissioners on the financial health and sustainability of Nassau County. The Clerk’s office until recently has projected a very favorable view of the County’s finances and was lately quoted in a news article as stating “Wow! It sure is looking to be a good year for Nassau County.”
I was very pleased that the Clerk has finally come around to agree with the proven view of the Management and Budget Department. At a recent County financial meeting the Clerk was quoted as stating “An awful lot of the things that you’re going to hear today, Shanea [Jones] (the Budget Director) has told you a thousand times before. She was right…………Shanea, I commend you because you are the one that that really led that charge.” These financial projections were then corroborated by Burton and Associates (municipal financial experts) who fully agreed with the Management and Budget department. Lets take a look at some of these key financial findings and projections.
* County expenses will be more than revenues, resulting in an operating deficit of approximately $ 8 million. (Cash- in will be less than cash- out).
* The budget deficit will be made up by using most of the one cent tax revenue fund. (which is supposedly committed to fund infrastructure projects and maintenance).
* Unassigned reserves (set aside for unexpected contingencies) will be zero.
* However the original Capital Plan and the catastrophic fund (hurricanes, etc.) remain in place.
* Another deficit year with zero unassigned reserves, minimal infrastructure projects, zero maintenance funding, 100% use of the one cent sales tax fund for budget balancing,and no available funds for state partnership in road construction projects.
2018 and beyond
* More of the same, except no infrastructure projects or funding for maintenance.
The one positive note in all of this is the fact, and I hope that this is true, that the key County officials seem to agree on the County’s financial problems and all can work together to manage our sustainability crisis.
There are no more reasons for disagreement. The latest financial projections are now the official Nassau County Management and Budget numbers.