By Rochelle Maruch Miller
When Ed Mangano came into office as Nassau County Executive in January 2010, he caught everyone by surprise with his dedication to the residents and his passion and commitment to getting things done. Mr. Mangano immediately set out to fix things. A man of his word, Mr. Mangano has, from his first day in office, maintained his pledge to taxpayers by repealing Nassau County’s home-energy tax, thereby affording homeowners the equivalent of a 5% property-tax reduction. Simply stated, he is the first county executive to put money back into the pockets of residents.
Mr. Mangano proactively reaches out to all communities, forming relationships and making every effort to bridge cultural gaps. A great many examples can be seen within the Jewish community, specifically the Five Towns.
Many members of our community undertake extreme personal sacrifice in order to pay yeshiva tuition, which seems to rise year after year. Every dollar left in the pockets of hardworking residents is significant. Mr. Mangano helps by eliminating wasteful government spending, fighting outrageous union contracts, and creating a more efficient county workforce by weeding out unproductive units and eliminating redundant positions.
Every year, Mr. Mangano meets with police and Jewish-community leaders regarding intensified patrols for the Yomim Nora’im. He hosted a security briefing for rabbis and community leaders, making the safety of all Nassau County community residents a top priority. Other efforts include strengthening the Five Towns Auxiliary Police Force, replacing a vehicle and equipment lost during Hurricane Sandy. After Hurricane Sandy devastated our community, County Executive Mangano was an invaluable resource, helping families and many others struggling with insurance companies, FEMA bureaucracy, and other storm-related problems.
He has forged a close relationship with Legislator Howard Kopel to complete many projects in the Five Towns community, including:
• a new athletic complex at Grant Park, which includes three new synthetic basketball fields, a new safety-surface playground, a comfort station, and an adult workout station;
• resurfacing Peninsula Boulevard;
• the Branch Boulevard beautification project;
• ongoing talks toward restoring and beautifying West Broadway; and
• traffic studies of how to minimize congestion in Woodmere and Hewlett.
Under Mr. Mangano’s expert leadership, Nassau County is winning the fight to attract new businesses and prevent existing businesses from moving elsewhere. After shedding jobs for over a decade, the county is beginning to see the return of good middle-class jobs. Nassau County now has a stronger economic climate that encourages job growth and equips our residents with job-training opportunities.
This year, the New York State Department of Labor reported that Nassau County leads the state in terms of job growth and employment. Mr. Mangano and his economic-development team have helped create and retain more than 19,000 private-sector jobs.
Since taking office, he has addressed a decade of crises and mismanagement. Under Ed Mangano’s leadership, Nassau County no longer taxes too high, spends too much, or reforms too little. Mr. Mangano believes that high taxes kill jobs. Which is precisely why he has held the line on county property taxes every year since taking office, eliminating a 16.5% property-tax increase planned by the previous administration, and even stopped a county food tax dead in its tracks. Nassau County was the highest-taxed county in the nation before Mr. Mangano took office—that is no longer the case due to his aggressive cost-saving policies. A telling example of this is that Nassau County won the New York State Local Government Efficiency Award.
Throughout his term in office, Mr. Mangano has focused on rebuilding Nassau County without asking taxpayers to cover the $378 million deficit he inherited from the previous administration. He accomplished this by cutting over $330 million in wasteful spending and launched nationally recognized public–private partnerships, thereby saving taxpayers millions of dollars and generating hundreds of millions in revenue. Some of the notable public–private partnerships are the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, New Indies Ice Skating Rink, Cosmos Practice Field, NICE Bus, and health care at the jail.
A successful public–private partnership with Forest City Ratner Companies was formed to transform the Coliseum into a world-class sports-entertainment destination at no cost to taxpayers. When completed, the facility will host the New York Islanders, New York Yankees coaching clinics, children’s shows, heavyweight boxing championships, tournaments, minor-league hockey, and college basketball games, as well as an exciting array of star-studded performances and family-fun entertainment. Plaza development will include a performing arts theater, ice rink, movie theater, and bowling alley.
On January 1, 2012, NICE Bus, a successful public–private partnership for Nassau’s bus system, began when Veolia Transportation was selected to run day-to-day operations. This partnership provides riders with reliable service and expanded routes, and it saves taxpayers over $30 million a year.
A successful public–private partnership can be found at the county jail, where residents are saving nearly a million dollars annually by eliminating costly transportation expenses through the delivery of inmate health-care services in the jail.
County Executive Mangano is continually focused on rebuilding Nassau County’s economy by creating jobs that put people back to work. Nassau County recently won a heated competition with the State of New Jersey for the international headquarters of Hain Celestial. Additionally, the county has attracted more homeland-security jobs, high-tech jobs, and film and television industry jobs to the former Grumman/Navy property in Nassau.
Mr. Mangano inherited a broken Nassau County. His opponent raised property taxes by more than 42% in six instances, far exceeding Governor Cuomo’s property-tax cap. During that same period, spending increased by more than $500 million and Nassau County faced a $400 million deficit.
Tom Suozzi chose to handle every budget shortage with new, higher taxes. His last act in office was to install an onerous home-energy tax on anything and everything used to heat or cool your home—oil, gas, electricity, propane, and even firewood. He created a terribly flawed property-assessment system that cost the taxpayers millions of dollars due to assessment errors. Rather than invest effort into fixing government efficiency and operations, reform the county’s out-of-control spending habits, and curb government waste, Mr. Suozzi has always taken the easy way out by just demanding more money from taxpayers.
By contrast, Ed Mangano has distinguished himself as an exemplary county executive, repairing and rebuilding Nassau County since day one of his administration. His approach to leadership makes sense: No property-tax increases three consecutive budgets. Repeal of the home energy tax. Fixing the broken assessment system. And putting money back into residents’ pockets.
While Suozzi still fails to understand that government doesn’t need more of your money, Mr. Mangano’s tax-cutting actions are securing Nassau County’s future by removing a $485 million tax burden off the backs of Nassau taxpayers. Mr. Mangano has virtually resuscitated Nassau County, repairing the errors of the previous administration and transforming the county into an exemplar for our nation. Under his leadership, our county and community have prospered. A Mangano victory on Election Day is a victory for every Nassau County resident. v