NIFA votes down $23M Nassau borrowing request

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MINEOLA -

The fiscal oversight board monitoring Nassau's finances voted down the county's request to borrow $23 million to cover property tax refunds and a court settlement.

Adam Barsky, chairman of the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, says the county owes so many people so much money that it needs a clear plan on how to deal with its broader debt issues.

"$23 million borrowing isn't telling us much about how they're going to deal with a $300 million backlog," Barsky says.

The county wanted to reimburse itself for part of a larger court settlement paid to two men who were wrongfully convicted of raping and killing a Lynbrook teenager more than 30 years ago. 

Nassau Executive Laura Curran's office disputed NIFA's decision.

"We disagree with NIFA's pessimistic view of County Executive Curran's 2018 GAAP-balanced budget," said spokesman Michael Martino, using the acronym for generally accepted accounting principles. "We expect to have a surplus of $9.2 million in (fiscal year) 2018. However, the report once again proves that the county's finances cannot improve until the mountain of past cert debt we inherited is addressed."

NIFA has repeatedly named that debt the county's biggest challenge, Martino said. 

"The (County Legislature) majority's decision to not approve a home-rule vote June 18 that would have made it possible for NIFA to pay an estimated $360 million in past cert debt proves to be shortsighted," he concluded. "Nassau County will have to shoulder this burden without NIFA's assistance."

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