State comptroller to audit Long Beach amid financial woes

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LONG BEACH -

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli is blasting Long Beach for its financial problems and auditing the city.

The announcement comes on the heels of a scathing state review of the city's proposed $95 million budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.

In the report, the state comptroller scolded city officials for the city's "significant fiscal stress" and inadequate efforts to address it.

"Because of prior year appropriations of fund balance and over-expenditures, the city has incurred operation deficits," the report reads. "These deficits have caused fund balance to decline, as well as available cash balances."

DiNapoli's office red-flagged several issues in the Long Beach budget. Among them, the city's pricey termination salary payments of approximately $1.8 million. 

"The city's continued practice of borrowing to fund these operating costs is not fiscally prudent," the report continues.

Nassau Legislator Denise Ford called on the state comptroller to conduct the audit. She says the city went from a $9 million surplus to being unable to make payroll.

"I think we need to have somebody other than somebody in the city look at the books and explain to us what went on," Ford says.

Long Beach officials issued a statement saying they look forward to working with the comptroller's team on the audit. It is expected to take six to nine months to complete.

For residents, the city's financial problems mean practical ones in their daily lives.

"I don't want to see firefighters laid off, and I don't want to see my taxes go up 12 percent," says Patti Halloran, referring to some of the city council's budgetary proposals.

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