The state control board in charge of Nassau County’s finances has issued another directive to county leaders – focus on righting the fiscal ship now that the vote for a new Coliseum is over.
The statement from the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) came early Tuesday morning following a large defeat of a public vote on whether to borrow $400 million to finance the construction of a new coliseum as home for the New York Islanders.
At their July 14 meeting, NIFA board member Leonard Steinman said that since “this is a referendum on a property tax increase... we’ll be watching closely to see if the residents of Nassau County have an appetite for property tax increases.”
Nassau Legislative Minority leader Diane Yatauro, D-Glen Cove, issued a release where she urged for a “privately-funded development plan with clear details as to how it protects taxpayers while stimulating economic growth.”
The county executive did hold a press conference Tuesday to discuss privately funded options for the coliseum site.
"Those that have solutions, come forward," Mangano said. "Whether you agreed with me in the past or not, here's a blank slate. ... NIFA, you should really come forward with your solutions now. Enough with the nonsense."
In their release, NIFA officials say that they are “hopeful that one result of the failure of the referendum is that the leadership of the County will now devote all of its energies and efforts into balancing the county budget.”
There are approximately five months remaining in the 2011 fiscal year to plug a $42 million deficit according to NIFA accounting estimates. The six-member control board is also projecting a $225 million gap for 2012 and recently rejected the county’s last update to its multi-year financial plan on July 14.
“We look forward to working with the county in dealing with this daunting challenge of balancing the budget for now, next year and the future with a renewed and undistracted focus,” NIFA said in its statement.
“One can only hope that NIFA’s highly paid staff and consultants will provide a solution that doesn’t include raising property taxes,” Nassau spokesman Brian Nevin said when reached for comment, indicating Mangano would not accept such a proposal.