One of my most important responsibilities as a legislator is acting as a fiscal watchdog.One recent example is a measure I sponsored that was adopted by the legislature, which strengthens financial oversight by changing the way Nassau County words contracts and purchase orders. Now contracts must clearly state a MAXIMUM spending amount rather than only requiring a MINIMUM amount, which had previously been the case. Since its enactment, two contracts have already had to be modified for using words such as “estimated costs.” This reform will enable the Legislature to more effectively control contract costs.
While those reforms address how your money is spent, it is essential to keep an even closer eye on how those dollars are generated. While I agree that the tax assessment process needs to be overhauled, I am pushing hard for it to be done the right way so every taxpayer is paying no more than his or her fair share. In my opinion, the reassessment process was initially rolled out too quickly and used words like “estimated” instead of providing specific figures on the tax cap amounts. I am hopeful that the Assessment Review Commission process will begin evaluating grievances soon. Of course, I will keep my constituents apprised on its progress.
Since I support programs that benefit the greatest number of County residents, I voted to allow RXR Realty to enter into a contract with the County to develop the property surrounding the Nassau Coliseum. I am pleased that we are on the path toward finally doing something positive with The Hub and am impressed with RXR’s plans. I believe this project will substantially grow the tax base, add new jobs and result in significant investment in surrounding area schools and communities.
Unfortunately, I am not nearly as positive about the terms of the agreement the City of Glen Cove made in 2016 with RXR on the Garvies Point development. In my opinion, giving up almost all tax revenue from this development for 40 years to fund a bond is not a smart use of taxpayer dollars.
The City took out a $97 million bond to pay for infrastructure improvements that RXR was contractually obligated to pay. That money would have become tax revenue, but is instead being used for nearly 40 years to pay off a bond. The City of Glen Cove, its school district and the County Legislature approved these tax reductions for RXR on this project. Although I voted against this County bill, the tax reduction request was unfortunately approved.