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Nassau County Mulls Declaring a Fiscal Emergency

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The state oversight board that took control Nassau County's finances could decide Thursday to declare a fiscal emergency in the county and freeze public employee salaries.

Established in 2000, the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) seized control of the county's finances at the end of January after concluding the county budget failed to close a $176 million gap in its $2.6 billion budget.

On Wednesday, County Executive Edward Mangano reviewed his revised financial plan that contained $181.9 million in spending cuts.  Included in this budget was a request that NIFA freeze county employee wages, thereby saving $10.5 million.

County Executive Edward Mangano said the cuts will be difficult and painful but are preferable to the other option of increasing property taxes by 21.5 percent.

Mangano's proposals include laying off 213 county workers, eliminating 307 vacant positions and imposing a 13-day unpaid furlough. 

"It is distasteful to tell people they no longer have jobs," he said at a press conference.

Union groups representing county employees are expected to protest the cutbacks and possible wage freezes. 

NIFA will review the revised budget Thursday afternoon.

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