During my tenure as town supervisor, the town did not exceed the tax cap, and the one time that the town board authorized piercing the cap, I voted against it.
As it turned out, we did not pierce the cap that year. As far as local town taxes go, North Hempstead’s town taxes were and remain the lowest of the Nassau County towns.
One of the reasons that we were able to maintain a low tax rate, even in difficult financial times, was that my administration was extremely aggressive at obtaining federal, state, and even private grants in order to grow vital and impactful town programs such as Project Independence ($1 million+ in grants) and 311 ($1 million+ in grants). The Yes We Can Community Center was funded with a $10 million private grant and several million more dollars from NY State. Environmental projects such as wetland restoration and bay and waterfront remediation were funded each year with hundreds of thousands of dollars of annual federal and state grants awarded to the town each year.
We also maintained sound fiscal practices, conservative financing, and operational efficiencies through programs such as the shared municipal services program I created. One such program was the Office of Intermunicipal Coordination where I crafted a new office in town government through which town, village, and district governments worked together to save money and improve services.
During my tenure as supervisor, the North Hempstead bond rating was upgraded to the highest level in the Town’s history at the time of the rating. The Moody’s analysis stated that “the Aa2 rating reflects the Town’s strong financial position resulting from enhanced long-term planning and internal controls . . . and a declining debt burden driven by the Town’s debt management plan.” During my years as Supervisor, the Town was consistently recognized by bond rating agencies for its strong and effective fiscal management.
In September 2013, I was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo as Chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) overseeing Nassau County’s budgets and expenditures in order to ensure fiscal responsibility. During this period, I renegotiated police and public employee contracts saving hundreds of millions of dollars while lifting a multi-year wage freeze that was crushing the workforce morale and productivity.
When subsequently serving as Deputy County Executive in Suffolk County, I implemented our county’s Shared Services Initiative that saved millions of dollars in public monies while ensuring uniform, high-quality services for all residents.
As Town Supervisor, I will always be mindful of opportunities to streamline our municipal spending, create operational efficiencies, and aggressively pursue federal, state, and private grants in order to make our local tax dollars stretch further.