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Thursday, October 2, 2014
W.H. weighs options at Candidates Night
By Emily Webb
Photos by Susan Grieco/Herald
West Hempstead resident Kary Touhamu commented about the high cost of taxes in Nassau County to County Comptroller George Maragos.

On Sept. 26, the West Hempstead Rotary Club hosted a public forum at the West Hempstead Public Library, in which residents openly addressed their concerns about property taxes and the current tax assessment system in Nassau County with candidates running for office this year before the final vote on Nov. 5.

At the start of the forum, Former Assemblyman Tom Alfano addressed the crowd on behalf of Republican County Executive candidate Ed Mangano — who was not able to attend that night — citing highlights of the current executive’s record, which include “Nassau Works,” an interactive online jobs program to relieve unemployment for residents, privatizing the bus system and patronizing small businesses in the community with his “Buy Local, Shop Local” campaign.

“What’s his plan for our future with taxes?” West Hempstead Chamber of Commerce President Robert Manuella asked for County Executive Mangano. “Is he going to stand on not raising taxes or is it going to filter away?”

“He’s a guy that sits at the kitchen table much like everyone and has to decide where finite resources are going to be deployed in his own household budget, and that same system applies to the big budget of Nassau County, which is a monster budget,” Alfano responded. “So while I can’t speak for him, I know in his spirit he has no intention of raising taxes in January if he’s reelected — that’s not how the guy is built.”

In regards to concerns about the current assessment system, Alfano said that the lack of bipartisanship in the county legislature has prevented Mangano from bonding fees and suggested that residents conduct their assessments on a more frequent basis.

County Comptroller George Maragos also acknowledged economic developments under the current administration — claiming that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent, countywide debt has been cut in half, and reserves have grown to close to 95 million dollars without raising property taxes — as compared to the county’s fiscal status prior to 2009.

“We have restored fiscal sanity to Nassau County and we’ve positioned this county for future growth and opportunity by holding the line of property taxes,” Comptroller Maragos said.

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