Youth program may be on chopping block due to budget problems

A youth program that provides after-school services to hundreds of kids may be on the chopping block due to Nassau's budget problems.

Gateway Youth Outreach, located in Elmont, is an organization that runs after-school programs and other activities for up to 800 students in western Nassau County.

Pat Boyle, who operates the program, says he is worried that if the Nassau Interim Finance Authority takes the reins of the county's budget process, youth services could end up on the chopping block.

"The bottom line is we are a discretionary fund," he says.

On Friday, NIFA chairman Jon Kaiman warned the Nassau County Legislature that if its members voted to override County Executive Ed Mangano's veto of their proposed budget, "NIFA will have no choice but to take measures to begin cutting nonessential, discretionary and non-life/safety expenses immediately."

Mangano's veto reinstated a 1.2 percent property tax hike, and would have infused the county with $12 million in much-needed funds.

The Legislature voted in a bipartisan manner to override the veto, and blamed NIFA for the county's budget deficit.

NIFA is scheduled to analyze the proposed budget on Thursday. The board is not likely to approve it.

Late last week, Kaiman said the board is committed to "righting the ship" in the weeks and months ahead.

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