Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos received pension contribution estimates for 2014 and is again "sounding the alarm" that the continuing double digit increases are unsustainable and may bankrupt every municipality across the state.
The state comptroller estimates that Nassau County will pay $210.9 million in 2014, up from $184.6 million in 2013 and up from $96.9 million in 2010. This latest increase of 14.3 percent in 2014 will bring the total increase since 2010 to approximately 118 percent, according to Maragos.
Nassau's pension costs, as a percentage of payroll, will be increased by about 125 percent, from 10.9 to 24.5 percent of overall payroll, according to Maragos.
According to a release, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo and State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli have not given any assurances that these double digit increases will not continue and in fact may actually go even higher if the U.S. and global economies weaken. The latest Tier 6 pension level for new hires will provide little if any relief, Maragos said.
"Pension contribution costs are increasing at an alarming rate," Maragos said in a release. "These types of increases are unsustainable, may bankrupt every municipality and will cause even further job losses. The new Tier 6 level is not enough to solve the current problem.
"Again, I call on State lawmakers to immediately address the skyrocketing pension contribution issue that they have been aware of and avoided for the past 3 years since 2010," he added.
Organizations Request More Bilingual Police Officers
Advocates from multiple local organizations came together Wednesday in an effort to get the Nassau County Police Department (NCPD) to recruit more bilingual officers.
Newsday [paid link] reported:
The issue has become contentious during the last two years, with activists criticizing the Civil Service Commission, which administers the countywide police test, and the Nassau County Police Department for falling behind demographic trends in an increasingly diverse county.
"It's their responsibility to get the numbers that they need in terms of recruitment in order to ensure that there are qualified applicants," Lucía Gómez Jiménez, executive director of La Fuente, told Newsday.
According to its website, La Fuente is "an umbrella organization that brings together labor and community partners who are engaged in neighborhood based grassroots organizing efforts around immigrant and worker rights issues."
Advocates want a Spanish language proficiency section included in the police exam and a separate, preferential list of qualified bilingual candidates.
County Launches Neighborhood "Taxis on Patrol" Initiative
Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano and Police Commissioner Thomas Dale Thursday announced a new voluntary Neighborhood Watch on Wheels program known as "Taxis on Patrol." The program is a three-pronged approach to combating crime and ensuring Nassau residents' quality-of-life, the county said in a release.
A variation of Neighborhood Watch, which relies on the vigilance of citizens to partner with public safety officials in reporting public safety incidents, Nassau’s new initiative offers taxi drivers a training program and asks them to be on the lookout for suspicious behavior while they are traveling in and around the communities – day and night – and to report such behavior to the NCPD.
In addition to NCPD training, taxis will be added to the department's Security/Police Information Network (SPIN system). This multi-dimensional crime prevention partnership between the NCPD and the private sector is a tool to increase public safety through the sharing of important and timely information involving anything from disruptions in public transportation and weather-related emergencies to fires and robberies. The email-based SPIN system, which currently provides critical, real-time information to educational institutions, hospitals, villages and city police departments, will be expanded to include the 39 taxi companies operating in Nassau as well as the NICE Bus.
Meetings will be scheduled to introduce the program to all local taxi companies and provide owner/operator training.
Long Island Fair Announced
Mangano announced Thursday that the Old Bethpage Village Restoration will host the 170th Annual Long Island Fair from Sept. 27-30.
Entrance fees on Thursday and Friday are: $8 for children 5–12 (those under 5 are free), seniors and volunteer firefighters; and $12 for adults. Saturday is "DOLLAR DAY" and Sunday, admission is $8 for children 5 - 12 (those under 5 are free), seniors and volunteer firefighters; and $15 for adults. Old Bethpage Village is located at 1303 Round Swamp Road in Old Bethpage; for more information, please call: (516) 572-8400 or visit www.lifair.org.