Nassau Plans Land Sale as Budget Contingency

Mitchel Field property sales expected to bring county $30 million.

Nassau County Executive, Republican... real estate broker?

At a breakfast meeting last week with reporters at the , Executive Ed Mangano revealed that the county is planning on getting out of a large number of leases of commercially owned properties around the Mitchel Field area and making the announcement within the next few weeks.

Leases for 99-years were entered into during the 1970s and the county is looking to sell a portion of them for their “present value” Mangano said. The one-shot influx of cash is expected to bring in more than $30 million, their estimated value. Currently the county receives approximately $3 million a year in total lease payments of the county-owned commercial properties.

The move comes at a time when the county is from the (NIFA) and a Thursday deadline for submitting to the state watchdog group important details about its 2011 budget contingencies in order to avoid a takeover of county finances.

While Mangano maintains that the 2011 budget is balanced, he is insisting on approximately as part of the 2012 budget.

Mangano did not include the Mitchel Field leases in his original 2011 budget submitted to the Nassau County Legislature, but the 19-member body saw fit to amend the document to include the proposed sales.

Nassau Democratic legislators have criticized the proposed land sales as one-shot deals which would stop bringing recurring revenue into county coffers.

“Mr. Mangano’s contingencies to help fill his deficit are one-shot revenue sources that are incapable of providing sufficient income to close the huge budget gap,” Democratic Minority Leader Diane Yatauro, D-Glen Cove, said. “By selling the Mitchel Field leases he is forfeiting $80 million in future County revenue.”

Mangano also asserts that the county has “too much rented space” and unfinished buildings that the county owns, namely the old social services building behind the and two-and-a-half floors of gutted space in the Executive Building at One West Street which remain unfinished.

In a letter sent to NIFA, Mangano has listed contingencies which he says he does not plan on utilizing. “It’s like when you’re going for a loan in your home - you list all your assets,” he said. “You’re not going to sell those assets, but you’re going to list them. So now we’ve listed everything for them.”

Other risks identified in the 2011 budget were $61 million in labor savings, which Mangano says has been allayed “by the securitization of land sales,” $23 million in State risks and $75 million in bonding for tax certiorari settlements.

Among the amounts laid out are $364 million in unsettled assessment cases, most of which are commercial in nature, about 80 percent according to county estimates. The county is expecting to settle $100 million worth of the cases in 2011, $100 million in 2012 and $164 million in 2013.

“Perhaps Nassau County can get a good deal in settling for less,” Mangano said.

The County Executive has undertaken a system since he took office last year. Mangano said that if nothing else changed, Nassau’s annual liability would be between $17 - $20 million in 2012-13 budget, which would paid out of operating budget - as part of a pay as you go system.

With respect to for school districts, with respect to liability for 2012-13 year, Mangano said that Nassau County will be “advising” what the liability is, so other municipalities can “budget in certainty,” he said. 

“So in other words, we’re paying the liability up front but then we’re billing (the districts).”


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