Mangano Reports on New Jobs, Reduced Crime and Taxpayer-Friendly Policies in State of the County Address
Mineola, NY - Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano delivered his 2016 State of the County Address on Tuesday, March 15th at the Museum of American Armor in Old Bethpage. County Executive Mangano reported that the State of Nassau’s economy is growing stronger, and its unemployment rate is the lowest in New York State, at 4.2%, with over 25,000 new jobs having been added to the County. Crime is down 25% since 2010, County property taxes have been frozen for five years, more than $330 million in wasteful spending has been eliminated, County finances have been strengthened, debt reduced, thousands of new housing opportunities created and transformation of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and surrounding property is underway with plans for new jobs and a vision for a new economy.
Jobs, Jobs, Jobs:
· Nassau County leads the State of New York with the lowest unemployment rate, at 4.2%, down from 7% in 2010. Since November 2014, the number of employed Long Islanders has grown by more than 57,000.
· The Mangano administration aggressively solicits companies to establish their headquarters in Nassau. Successes include:
o Display Technologies relocated their headquarters and 61 jobs from Queens to Lake Success, with plans to create more jobs.
o New York Vanity - a Queens-based cabinet manufacturer - moved its entire operation and jobs to Freeport.
o Supreme Screw - a high-tech manufacturer from the Bronx - moved 36 jobs to Nassau with plans to create an additional 30 jobs.
o K&B Trading - a cap importer and distributor - moved from New Jersey to Port Washington, creating 20 new jobs.
o Hain Celestial moved their International Headquarters with 250 jobs to Lake Success, rather than New Jersey after being courted by Governor Christie, and have plans to create 100 additional jobs.
o R-Best Produce relocated their 51 jobs and corporate headquarters from the Bronx to Port Washington, along with plans to create 12 new jobs.
o JescoLighting - a Queens-based company - was bound for LA but chose Nassau for their operations and 40 jobs.
o Aqua Enerviva moved its headquarters from Greenwich, CT to Bethpage, with a dozen jobs.
· The Mangano administration also focuses on retaining quality employers. Successes include retaining:
o NY Community Bank with nearly 500 jobs in Nassau that might have been shifted out-of-state and helped them create 80 new jobs.
o Publishers Clearing House, which expanded their operations, retaining 800 jobs and creating 66 new jobs - estimated to generate $136 million in economic benefit.
o Dealertrack Technologies’ Headquarters with 367 jobs and plans for 357 new jobs – estimated to boost Nassau’s economy to the tune of $3 billion.
o Others expanding their workforce with our assistance include Nassau Candy, Designatronics, Genadyne Biotechnologies, P&L Development and WAC Lighting Co.
· The Film and Television industry continues to grow – benefiting the local economy to the tune of $530 million over the past two years.
o Nassau served as home to NBC’s live performances of “The Wiz.” And backdrop to movies, including “Sisters,” “TrainWreck,” “The Amazing Spiderman II,” “John Wick II,” and many, many more.
· Cyber security is an emerging industry with NYIT establishing a Cyber Defense Research Facility to serve the nation’s need for Cyber Security professionals.
· The Health Care Industry continues to grow, with Winthrop University Hospital building new lab space in Mineola and Hofstra-Northwell School of Medicine serving as a building block to attract healthcare related research and development.
Vision of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum Property – The Hub – Health Care Jobs, Research Jobs and Entertainment Jobs:
· Coliseum - Construction began late last year to transform the outdated Coliseum into a world-class sports-entertainment destination with $260 million in private investment.
o This public-private partnership also provides financial relief to taxpayers by eliminating over $2 million in annual expenses the County previously paid - utilities, parking lot repairs and capital expenditures. All are no longer paid for by taxpayers!
o The new arena will retain its history of honoring our veterans while sharing revenue with taxpayers, employing 2,700 people and providing $10 billion in economic activity to our economy.
o When complete, the arena will host over 250 events annually, including six NY Islanders games, Brooklyn Nets games, the Long Island Nets, boxing, and college basketball - as well as star-studded concerts and family entertainment. Later this year, construction will also begin on an entertainment district.
· Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center - an additional $140 million private investment from MSK will occur at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Charles Lindbergh Blvd. - adding synergy to our growing healthcare economy.
o Memorial Sloan Kettering will provide world-class cancer care and employ 250 clinical and administrative positions with an average annual salary and benefits package totaling $150,000.
· Feinstein Institute –seeks to establish a global-scale Center for Bioelectronic Medicine at the Hub - creating nearly 150 new jobs, bringing the total number employed to 400; and serve as a catalyst to attract companies and researchers from across the globe in this exciting new field in medical treatments.
o NYS has proposed $30 million in economic incentives for this $300 million facility so the nation’s brightest scientists seek a home at the Hub.
· New York State has the opportunity to partner with Nassau County to further transform 51-acres of the Coliseum parking lot into an economic engine for research and development. The Mangano administration has applied for $225 million in State economic development funds for the following infrastructure and transit improvements at the Hub:
o green parking structures to replace surface parking requirements – thereby unlocking 1.4 million square feet to private investment.
o a Bus Rapid Transit system to alleviate traffic and transform the way people travel, live, and work in our community.
o Green Pedestrian Connectors to connect Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, Mitchel Athletic Complex, Museum Row, RXR Plaza, Kellenberg Memorial High School and the Coliseum with direct, walkable access to the Hub.
o Destination Green Infrastructure to create a world-class research and development destination - not through office space alone - but by creating a sense of “place” that will foster and inspire creative and collaborative thinking.
Freezing Property Taxes:
· While neighboring municipalities increased property taxes by double-digits since 2010, Nassau froze County property taxes for five years.
· 2015 was the fifth straight year in which households earning $500,000 annually did not pay a net dime more than they did in 2010. This was accomplished by participating in the Governor’s Property Tax Freeze Credit Program, which rewards counties such as Nassau that stay within the tax cap by sending dollar-for-dollar reimbursement checks to residents which returned a 2.2% residential budget increase to all homeowners earning less than $500,000.
· In 2016, County government has again frozen its tax levy.
· While schools made up 67% of the average tax bill in 2009, school taxes now on average make up 71% in 2016.
· County government on average made up 19% of your total tax bill in 2009. It only makes up 16% of your total tax bill in 2016 - a real decline.
Cutting Wasteful Spending and Saving Millions with Public-Private Partnerships:
· Despite increasing costs related to employee health insurance and pension costs, Nassau County spends millions less today than it did in 2010 in spite of a 13% rise in the Consumer Price Index.
· The Mangano administration has cut $330 million in wasteful spending - the equivalent of a 25% property tax increase.
· The workforce was reduced by over 1,776 positions to the lowest level since the 1950s. This saves our generation money, and future generations will pay 1,776 less pensions and health care costs at retirement.
· Nassau now has six less departments, cut energy costs, reduced the number of vehicles in the fleet and eliminated thousands of copy machines and phone lines.
· Public-private partnerships for the bus system, sewage treatment plant operations, and healthcare at the jail are saving tens of millions of dollars each year
· Public-private partnerships have utilized private sector, non-taxpayer dollars, to enhance public facilities such as athletic fields and ice rinks.
Strengthening County Finances:
· Working together with NIFA and the Legislature, the administration:
o doubled Nassau’s reserves to $120 million;
o reduced County debt by $40 million since 2010;
o settled labor contracts;
o set forth a financial plan that eliminates borrowing for tax refunds which has plagued County finances over the last two decades through a system that produces errors and requires Nassau County to pay one dollar for every 16 cents in error.
o reduced assessment debt accumulated from $100 million a year to $60 million, and are on path to have zero in 2018.
o established a pay-go litigation fund.
o began paying CSEA termination compensation from operating funds.
Reducing Crime and Combating the Heroin Epidemic:
· Crime is down by 25% since 2010 and shootings are down by 24%.
· Residents should report suspicious social media activity via Text-A-Tip by downloading the Nassau Crime Stoppers application available in the app store.
· The Nassau County Police Department is monitoring potential threats to public safety and has conducted Anti-Terror Police Training Exercises for use in response to any active shooter or terror situation.
· Nassau County assisted the City of Long Beach in tackling gun crimes by funding a Shot Spotter system and the Village of Freeport in launching a License Plate Reader program that has led to impounding hundreds of vehicles and dozens of arrests, including a suspected murderer and a home burglar.
· Gun Buy Back Programs have removed from Nassau streets and destroyed more than 4,000 guns.
· The Mangano administration is battling heroin and opioid abuse through a comprehensive strategy: awareness, education, enforcement and treatment.
o With respect to awareness, police visit students countywide and continue to alert the public through a Heroin Prevention Task Force.
o Nassau’s first-ever Heroin Educational Summit brought together 500 residents and professionals, including 18 school districts and two universities.
o Overdose Prevention and Drug Abuse Awareness Seminars have trained 6,200 citizens to administer the overdose reversal agent known as Narcan.
o With respect to enforcement, Nassau and Suffolk counties joined forces in February to combine resources, track down the sources of fatal heroin overdoses and remove drug dealers from our streets.
o For treatment, “A Shot at Life,” program was launched to provide counseling with monthly injections of Vivitrol, which caps the Opiate receptors in the brain, cutting the cravings and blocking the euphoric effects of drugs.
o A national model, the States of Alaska, Arizona, Colorado and Florida have contacted Nassau County for guidance.
Procurement Reforms to Increase Transparency, Oversight and Disclosure
· Last overhauled in 2004, it had been subject to media reports concerning a lack of transparency. At that time, the policy was overhauled to reflect additional layers of approval and increased transparency.
· While the procurement process was touted as the most transparent system possible at the time, County Executive Mangano signed two Executive Orders that require:
o registration and disclosures by lobbyists; and
o disclosures by contractors and consultants.
· An independent panel of experts was formed to review Nassau County’s procurement process and the District Attorney issued a report to assist us in our mutual goal of enhanced transparency.
· A new position of Procurement Compliance Director was created to ensure greater oversight.
· Requirements were adopted for all contractors to disclose their political donations and sign affidavits.
· Nassau County has and continues to follow the laws and policies put in place in 2004, which includes 10 levels of approvals – checks and balances - prior to contracts being executed:
o initiating department,
o Office of Management and Budget,
o Office of County Attorney,
o Office of the County Attorney again,
o County Comptroller,
o County Legislature when applicable,
o County Attorney again for a third time,
o Office of Management and Budget again for a second time,
o County Comptroller for a second time,
o NIFA if applicable.
o then, and only then, can a contract be executed.
· With respect to contracts under $25,000, while there were never any legal or regulatory mandates to do so, the Mangano administration made certain that contracts from one penny to $25,000 were placed on the Legislative calendar for public inspection since 2010.
· Recently, a bill was submitted that requires the Legislature to vote on contracts from $1,000 to $25,000. This will create a further record of the process.
New Housing Opportunities:
· To assist veterans and active duty military families, the Mangano administration transformed 60 dilapidated homes on the old Mitchel Air Base into veteran housing and helped rehabilitate five, two-bedroom townhouses in Hempstead to house homeless veterans and their families.
· With the IDA, the Mangano administration has incentivized the private sector to increase housing stock for families and seniors. More than 3,500 new apartments have opened or are now under construction in Nassau, with more than 1,000 units being constructed through incentives to convert vacant office space into apartments near transit centers.
o These opportunities are found in Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza, Farmingdale, Hempstead, Manhasset, Mineola, New Cassel, Roslyn and Westbury.
Cleaning Up the Environment:
· Finalizing plans with the federal and state governments for the construction of an Ocean Outfall Pipe at the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant. To strengthen the shoreline, protect marine life and improve the environment for decades to come, an Ocean Outfall Pipe will ensure treated sewage is no longer dumped in the western bays - resulting in excessive nitrogen in waterways.
· Over $830 million in improvements, restoration and infrastructure hardening is underway at the Bay Park Wastewater Treatment Plant.
o Progress includes the reduction of odor emissions, rehabilitation of primary engine generators, restoration and elevation of the Plant’s electrical distribution system, and construction of berms and walls surrounding the Plant to protect it against a tidal surge of up to 18 feet above sea level.
· Bay Park was reconstructed, is open to the public and serves as home to the East Rockaway Raiders Youth Football League and Cheerleaders.
· The former Social Services Building in Garden City which is being converted into a new Family Court.
· A new Crime Lab is under construction at the Public Safety Center in Westbury and a new Police Training Academy will be constructed near Nassau Community College.
· Police precincts are being replaced with new buildings that better serve our communities.
· Millions are being invested in County roadways, park improvements and streetscaping projects.
· New cabanas are arriving at Nickerson Beach and a Pitch and Putt was built on the beach.
· New athletic fields are being constructed, including a first-of-its-kind field for children with disabilities in Eisenhower Park.
· The Northwell Health Ice Center in Eisenhower Park will host official NY Islander practices, youth hockey leagues and share their profits with taxpayers.
· Cantiague Park showcases new fields and a renovated NHL-sized ice rink that now accommodates more youth hockey teams and figure skating. Grant Park also showcases a new ice rink.
· Plans are underway to install sewer systems in parts of our north shore.
· Complete Street initiatives are being used to ensure pedestrian and bicycle safety on roadways.
· The final phase of West Shore Road reconstruction is included in the Capital Plan.
· The Bayville Bridge will undergo additional repairs.
· The Police Marine Bureau administration building and fueling station adjacent to Bay Park is set to be storm-hardened.
· 145 South Shore traffic signals will be replaced.
· The community center at Wantagh Park will be demolished and rebuilt, along with a new mini golf course.
· A kayak launch and boardwalk will be constructed at Milburn Creek Park.