Brown: Armageddon may or may not be on the way to budgeting


Suffolk accounting auditor John Kennedy made a proposal at the county legislative meeting last week to keep his office funds and thus his staff intact.

He pointed out that offices in charge of duties, such as audit departments and contractors, can help save money in Suffolk. Even before the pandemic depleted sales tax and other income, it’s not a small thing for a county that barely covered its costs. ..

For a minute or two after a lawmaker proposed the idea of ​​keeping the office on some of the money that would be cut under the lean and average 2021 budget of Mayor Steve Beron. , Republican Kennedy seemed to have arrived somewhere. ..

But the idea got stuck, and after about 30 minutes, like other county departments and contractors, Kennedy’s office funding was cut as planned.

Even before the meeting, Suffolk lawmakers caught the shadow early on to choose to keep the slash-and-burn budget in Belone.

And while Kennedy did his best, lawmakers finally decided not to offer an amendment to mitigate the potential impact of what Belone and others called the Armageddon budget.

According to the dictionary, Armageddon as defined is the last destructive battle or conflict.

In Suffolk, the meaning can be extended, hoping to avoid all hell being unleashed.

For the first time in Suffolk history, Democrat Belone delayed the proposal as he worked hard to stall the county’s budget.

Still, Congressmen Belone and Suffolk want to avoid the need to implement unprecedented reductions, as in towns and villages in New York, Nassau County, and Long Island.

Hempstead Town, For example, the country’s largest population has spent $ 20 million from reserves to balance its 2021 budget. And last week, Brook Haven Officials said the town would dismiss 14 employees. Like Huntington, Babylon, Islip and a few other towns, Brookhaven will also raise taxes.

The Suffolk budget came into effect in January, but the cuts did not begin until April. By that time, Belone and lawmakers hope that additional aid from Washington will eliminate the need for reductions.

Still, it’s worth investigating that Suffolk, which lacks an economic lifeline in Washington, says it can no longer afford it.

  • Salaries and allowances for about 500 county workers.
  • About half of public bus routes, including some services for people with disabilities.
  • A new academy class for police officers.
  • Large amounts of funding for public health institutions, community clinics and contractors that provide social welfare services.

Nassau is also facing a serious income problem.

But there is a different approach. County executive Laura Callan is calling for a “declaration of need” to allow the county to save money by refinancing hundreds of millions of dollars in debt to the state’s governing board.

Such a move would help the county today without DC funding, but masks the difficult choices Karan may have to make to cut costs.

Republicans in Nassau have revised Karan’s budget, especially to increase funding for bus services. Callan refused the change and lawmakers did not invalidate her actions.

Then there is all that politics.

The Nassau and Suffolk county councils will be reelected in 2021.

With Suffolk’s decision not to change Belone’s budget, the cuts came to him more than their budget. Bellone is for a limited time.

In Nassau, Republicans are moving to rent Karan, who will be reelected in the second quarter of next year, as Republicans try to revise Karan’s budget.

In the face of that, Nassau could evade Armageddon in 2021. But the county’s financial management committee, Last week, the Nassau Interim Finance Department pointed out that the county still had structural budget problems.

So is Suffolk.

All of this could benefit from the potential move by the federal government to shorten the county’s revenues.

As a Suffolk legis. Robert Trotta (R-Fort Salonga) said at a meeting last week: “This isn’t a pandemic’s fault … there was a problem that hadn’t been addressed before.”

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