Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano tackled issues of employment, property taxes and hurricane recovery in his State of the County address Wednesday night.
Speaking at Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage, Mangano boasted about the changes his administration made after inheriting a "broken Nassau County."
"Nassau's former plan was clear: Take more money from taxpayers to feed the out of control spending habits of government," he said, citing past practices of property tax increases. "Accordingly, I chose the path that made sense. No property tax increases for three consecutive budgets."
Tom Suozzi, Mangano's predecessor and one of the Democratic challengers in the upcoming County Executive race, fired back in a statement Wednesday.
"This administration is prone to accounting mischief and budgetary shenanigans," said Suozzi. "Under Ed Mangano, Nassau County has been mired in reckless mismanagement and constant fiscal crisis."
In a nod to Suozzi's administration, Mangano defended his financial practices, saying he had implemented a more efficient and correct tax system.
Despite criticizing Democrats, Mangano praised local politicians on both sides of the aisle as he turned toward the devastation of Hurricane Sandy. He thanked first responders, recovery workers, and politicians who advocated for suffering victims, saying together the county would "strengthen homes, mitigate mold, and provide community planning programs to engage local residents in shaping a rebuilt Nassau."
"…We now live in a post-Hurricane Sandy world. This post-Hurricane Sandy world still contains thousands of homeowners who face the financial struggle of rebuilding their lives and homes."
As expected, Mangano defended a plan for a smaller Nassau Coliseum.
The Hub, which Mangano called a "victim of the Long Island No," would be a privately funded, smaller arena with more parking to make the destination more accessible. The arena would also feature twin ice skating rinks "at no cost to taxpayers" that would provide for national and international sporting events.
Responses to requests for proposals are due in April, he said.
As the county braces for the challenges ahead, Mangano said he believes that working together will make prosperity and recovery possible.
"While Nassau still faces fiscal hurdles and post-Hurricane Sandy challenges, most of which can be overcome through bipartisan cooperation and hard work, I am confident that we will meet these challenges head on."