Mangano has the edge for county executive
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There’s much more to consider, however. Unfortunately, Mangano has been most creative when it comes to county finances. He has kept his pledge not to raise property taxes, and that will be all some voters need to know. However, there is less to this accomplishment than meets the eye. Due to Mangano’s failure to bring fairness and order to the tax assessment system, the school tax portion of your tax bill (approximately 60 percent of the total) has increased significantly over the past two years, even as school boards have generally done a good job of keeping spending below the state’s property tax cap.
Suozzi raised taxes in his first year in office, but he produced balanced budgets and saw the county’s credit rating soar. Mangano’s budgets have bordered on fiction. The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, the independent oversight board created by the state after it bailed out the county to the tune of $100 million, has consistently criticized his spending plans as unrealistic, and Moody’s has lowered the county’s credit rating three times since Mangano took office.
Borrowing to meet current expenses is poor financial management, and Mangano seems addicted to it. It may keep current taxes down, but it all but guarantees higher taxes down the road, when the loans come due.
To his credit, Mangano showed real leadership after Hurricane Sandy, being front and center from the day the storm hit. He successfully privatized the ailing county bus system, saving taxpayers money and improving service for riders. He consolidated the county’s police precincts, which has also saved money, apparently without having a negative impact on police services.
On the other hand, Mangano did little to address the deplorable condition of the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant before the storm wrecked the aging facility and sent billions of gallons of raw sewage into the fragile Western Bays. His ill-fated plan to sell the county sewage plants to a private company in 2011 was widely criticized as a cynical attempt at a gigantic revenue one-shot to meet current expenses at the expense of future generations.
All in all, a very mixed bag.