Voters ask Nassau lawmakers to block proposed fee hikes

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MINEOLA -

Real estate agents, a representative from AAA and even the county clerk appealed to Nassau County lawmakers Friday as they met for the last time before a formal budget vote.

They asked legislators to reject fee increases proposed by Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano.

"I literally have people crying in my office paying these fees," the county clerk told lawmakers.

Under Mangano's proposal, the surcharge for traffic tickets would increase. So would fees for real estate transactions. In all, his budget plan includes $60 million worth of hikes. His budget proposal also includes a small tax increase.

MORE ON THIS: NIFA reviews Mangano budget proposal

According to finance deputy Eric Naughton, the revenue increase is necessary to ensure critical services remain in place.

Legislators from both major parties seemed reluctant to accept the executive's plan.

"When we have the budget vote on the 30th, you can be assured that the budget will not look the same," said Norma Gonsalves, a Republican who is the presiding officer of the County Legislature.

"We've been very clear since the budget was announced on Sept. 15, we will not be supporting the fees," said Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams, a Democrat.

In each of the past two years, the county executive has proposed fee increases, only for the Republican-led Legislature to strip them out before Election Day — and then add them back later.

But this time, Presiding Officer Gonsalves, who is retiring this year, said the flip-flop on fees won't happen again.

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