The following is a look back at some of the top stories in Nassau County over the past week:
MTA Proposes Heavy Cuts to LI Bus
Claiming it cannot continue operating Long Island Bus without additional funds from Nassau County, Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials on Wednesday proposed the elimination of over half of the system's bus routes.
"The MTA does not fund service at all in any other county in the state, including Westchester and Suffolk," said Kevin Ortiz, a spokesman for the MTA. This is an issue of Nassau not recognizing its obligation to fund its bus system."
The county owns Long Island Bus, but it is operated by the MTA. The county pays just a fraction of the $134 million it takes to run the transportation agency — in the past several years, the county's contribution has been $9.1 million per year.
County Executive Ed Mangano says that the MTA's request of an additional $24 million to help avert a dramatic reduction in bus service is not financially possible for the county at this point. Instead, the county executive has expressed an interest in privatizing the Long Island Bus system, and has already begun soliciting bids.
“[MTA's] proposal will be measured against the responses that we have received,” he said. “We have no other choice but to measure the public-private responses to operate our bus system against the MTA proposal. We intend to continue bus service.”
The MTA has scheduled a March 23 public hearing on the proposal, followed by a vote on April 27. Mangano said he plans to hold hearings on the county's options at some point.
Mangano Announces Cost-Savings Through Purchasing Consortium
On Tuesday, Mangano spoke at the Nassau BOCES building is Westbury to announce nearly $5 million in savings achieved through the Nassau Schools and Municipal Savings Initiative.
"It's one of the most important things my administration is doing to help taxpayers," Mangano said.
The county is part of a purchasing consortium that includes Nassau BOCES and county school districts. The idea is that buying different goods and combining services among schools and the county will save both entities money.
County Extends Deadline on Assessment Grievances
After it was discovered that many Nassau residents received late notice on their assessment disclosure letters, Mangano has decided to extend the deadline for grievances into April.
"In an effort to allow the taxpayers of Nassau County an opportunity to make sure that the assessed value placed on their home or business is accurate, I called on assessment officials to permit a grace period to accept grievances until April 23," Mangano said.
For more information on how to file a grievance or to receive your assessment disclosure letter, call the county Department of Assessment at (516) 571-1500 or visit http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Assessor/.