County Staves Off Budget Cuts With Debt Refinancing Deal

County Staves Off Budget Cuts With Debt Refinancing Deal

NASSAU COUNTY, NY — On Monday, the Nassau County Legislature unanimously approved a measure to refinance its debt, which officials say will stave off the need for drastic cuts to services in 2021 that would have otherwise been necessary due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus shutdowns in the spring caused a massive hole in the county’s budget, 40 percent of which comes from sales tax. The months-long shutdown and spending decrease hit the county hard, causing a budget deficit of $385 million. The county managed to balance its budget this year, but was projecting a $364 million budget hole for 2021.

The Legislature’s action on Monday will allow it to refinance hundreds of millions of dollars of debt with 15-year bonds. County Executive Laura Curran initially proposed 30-year bonds, but that offer was rejected by the Republican majority of the Legislature, which instead negotiated for the 15-year bonds. The Legislative Majority said the shorter term would save taxpayers $683 million over the life of the bonds.

“This deal negotiated by the Majority will save Nassau taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, and return money back to small business owner and residents, where it belongs,“ said Presiding Officer Richard Nicolello “The Majority will continue to stand up for Nassau residents, and fight to lower taxes for working class families.”

The refinancing, which was approved by the county’s oversight board, Nassau Interim Finance Committee, will give the county $435 million through 2022.

“Amidst a financial crisis spawned by a devastating public health crisis, today’s agreement will put Nassau County on firm footing to emerge strongly from the COVID-19 pandemic and preserve critical services that residents are relying upon more than ever,” Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams said. “This is a victory for responsible governing in the face of unprecedented challenges and is a credit to County Executive Curran’s steady leadership throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This article originally appeared on the Garden City Patch

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