Legislators propose $100 million deficit reduction plan

The Suffolk County Legislature proposed a $100 million budget deficit reduction plan Tuesday.
JENNIFER GUSTAVSON PHOTO | The Suffolk County Legislature proposed a $100 million budget deficit reduction plan Tuesday.

A group of Suffolk County Legislators announced Tuesday a five-part plan that would reduce the county’s budget deficit by more than $100 million.

Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) said the bipartisan effort aims to reduce the county’s projected $126 million general fund deficit. The plan is co-sponsored by Republican Legislators Ed Romaine and John Kennedy and Democrat Jon Cooper.

“We don’t know whether all of the ideas will fly, but it’s certainly an effort to put as many ideas forward to try and keep us afloat during these very difficult fiscal times,” Mr. Lindsay said.

One part of the plan is to reach a lag payroll agreement with county workers, which carries a potential $27.8 million savings.

“My concern is our ability to continue to provide vital community services and to avoid massive layoffs,” said Mr. Cooper.

Two years ago, most county workers agreed to a lag payroll, which Mr. Lindsay said provided a $36 million savings.

Another part of the plan includes applying potential revenue generated from the sale or lease of county-owned land in Yaphank, which was slated for a development project called Legacy Village. County officials said the deal is expected to generate $25 million.

Other ideas the group of legislators are proposing include the sale of tax liens on commercial and vacant land, a strategy similar to something being done in Nassau County. Lehislators estimate such a move could bring in about $20 million in revenues.

The Legislature is also proposing the sale and lease buyback of the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge for $38.9 million.

Privatizing the county-owned Shinnecock Canal County Marina and the Timber Point County Marina is also a part of the deficit-cutting plan, but potential savings on that proposal haven’t been determined.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy said his staff will welcome the legislature’s input on ways to cut the deficit, but he expressed some concern that the savings would be “one-shot deals.”

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