Curran Delivers State of the State

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran delivers her State of the County speech at Elmont High School on March 24. At right is Legislator Arnold Drucker. (Screenshot)

Legislator John Ferretti responds for the Republicans

The following are the texts of the State of the County delivered by the county executive and the response by Legislator John Ferretti:

Good evening, I’m Nassau County Executive Laura Curran. I’d like to welcome Presiding Officer Nicolello and Minority Leader Abrahams, and the 17 other members of the Nassau County Legislature with us in person or virtually.

Thank you to Elmont Memorial Junior-Senior High School and the Sewanhaka Central School District for hosting this year’s State of the County address–Go Spartans! And to our residents at home, thank you for joining me as we recap this past year–one we are not likely to forget–and look forward to the year ahead.

I feel like we have come full circle, as just one year ago, I postponed my State of the County address that was to be held here at Elmont Memorial, in order to direct the Nassau County response to the COVID-19 crisis. Every single day since, Nassau County has been at war: to save lives; to keep the economy afloat, our businesses open, and our kids in school.

Standing here now, I see a future brighter than ever. And tonight, I’ll tell you exactly how Nassau County is seizing this once-in-a-century opportunity to come back stronger than we ever imagined.

Vaccinating Everyone

In the weeks and months to come, our main priority is getting everyone eligible in Nassau County vaccinated. We’ll need to keep our budget balanced as we drive forward on the road to recovery. We continue to act with the sense of urgency and focus that our residents deserve. And we cannot let anything slow us down.

The county executive announces the opening of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum as a vaccination site on March 23. (Office of the County Executive)

I’ll speak to each of these issues and more tonight, but before I continue–this week I’ve ordered flags lowered to half-staff to remember the 3,020 residents we’ve lost to Covid-19. I ask you to join me in pausing for a moment of silence in honor of their memory.

To the families and loved ones of those we’ve lost, our hearts are with you. It’s been a time of loss for so many. Too many precious lives lost. Businesses lost. Jobs lost. Critical time in the classroom for our children, lost. Lost moments with loved ones. The losses in our lives are hard to count.

But the way Nassau residents have stepped up these past 12 months has been nothing short of heroic–the many health care workers and first responders; parents and teachers; young men and women making a difference–big or small–in their communities.

Like LILAC, a group of Syosset High School students raising money to provide PPE and lunches for health care workers; or Tori Brown, a fifth grader at Baldwin’s Lenox School, who started her own cake business to support families hit hard by the pandemic. Our residents have shown real character.

I must especially thank the county’s frontline workers, beginning with the finest Health Department in the nation, led by the incomparable Dr. Larry Eisenstein. Nassau has long had an award-winning Health Department, but this year Dr. Larry and his team truly outdid themselves. I’m also grateful for the hundreds of Nassau County Medical Reserve Corps volunteers who’ve stepped up to support our COVID response and vaccination efforts. Thirty-two percent of the total county population has received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, the highest percentage of any major New York State county.
The COVID-19 vaccine is safe. It’s effective. And it’s the key to ending the pandemic and to kick starting our economic recovery. I call it the passport back to normal. Nassau has had the most efficient operation in the state, working to get shots in arms and using every last vial. The county distributions sites have turned around 100 percent of the doses we’ve received. We’ve built the infrastructure to swiftly distribute the vaccine and if you’re eligible, make an appointment and roll up your sleeve.

Health equity is a cornerstone of our vaccine strategy, and the county is working closely with trusted community messengers, like educators and clergy, to build confidence in the vaccine, and to increase access in the communities disproportionally affected by the pandemic.

I want to thank our Vaccine Equity team, Kyle Rose Louder, Carolyn McCummings and Andrea Ault-Brutus. Nassau will continue vaccinating as many people as we can in all communities so we can save lives, get our economy roaring, our businesses fully open, and our kids back into the classroom–for good.

As county executive, I’ve done everything in my power to keep our schools open. Schools are the safest place for our kids, and a high-quality education system is the foundation of our county.

I’ve seen up close how teachers and administrators have put their students first in uncertain and difficult times, especially as they implemented plans to safely and responsibly reopen. As schools continue reopening, Nassau County will be working closely with districts to help schools access FEMA funding that will allow for investment in IT and improved ventilation in buildings.

The Roosevelt Field Mall shortly after it reopened last July. The economic recovery is important to the county, as sales taxes account for about 40 percent of its revenues. Roosevelt Mall itself pays tens of millions in sales and property taxes annually. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

I want to recognize Tavora Buchman, a member of Dr. Larry’s Department of Health team, who helped provide districts with the guidance necessary to do in-person learning and get our kids safely back on the field, court, mat and rink.

Through DOH and our trusted community leaders–Bishop Lionel Harvey, Dr. Aaron Glatt, and Dr. Isma Chaudry, among many others–we got the word out about worshiping safely, testing availability, access to vaccine and help for those in need. I would also like to thank Farrah Mozawalla, Lionel Chitty, and Amy Flores for our outreach agencies for their work.

In response to a heartbreaking rise in food insecurity, the county put food on the table for more than 35,000 families through partnerships with Island Harvest and Long Island Cares food banks. We provided relief to those unable to pay the rent, and pioneered an innovative restaurant relief program that is now being used as a model at the state level. Over 200 restaurants located all over Nassau have received grants of up to $10,000, so far. The program is still open, and I urge our restaurant owners to apply.

Pro Business Policies

At the beginning of the crisis, I formed an Economic Advisory Council that helped me guide a pro-business response and recovery for Nassau. Already, the county has delivered millions in loans and PPE to our small businesses through the Boost Nassau Initiative.

I’ve fought to loosen restrictions on businesses when it made sense, helping push for the safe reopening of malls, barber shops and nail salons, bowling alleys, movie theaters, gyms, and catering halls—among others. Even when it hasn’t been easy politically, I’ve advocated for businesses that have followed the rules and are just trying to get by. And I’ll continue to advocate for common-sense reopening.

This Amazon warehouse in Carle Place is expected to open soon. While this facility did not apply for tax breaks from the county’s IDA, a similar Amazon warehouse in Syosset will be asking for such incentives. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

The county has made it a priority to do everything possible to attract and grow commerce in Nassau. My administration has cut red tape that has strangled development in this county for decades, such as reducing the time frames for approvals from our Department of Public Works. We’ve utilized Industrial Development Agency incentives across industry sectors, where doing so drives a net benefit to our taxpayers. This is certainly the case for transformative projects like the Long Beach Super Block and the redevelopment of the Cerro Wire site.

After an era of neglect of our infrastructure, my mantra has as county executive been simple: roads, roads, roads.  Nassau County has embarked on the most ambitious road repaving campaign in decades, increasing the annual average lane miles of roads repaved between 2019-2021 by more than 70 percent—compared to the average annual lane miles resurfaced in the three years before I took office. And we’re not taking our foot off the pedal. Now is the time to build, and I believe infrastructure will power Nassau’s economic recovery. Across the county, I’ve outlined 12 projects Nassau has positioned for upcoming federal stimulus funds to finish up. The total value generated by these projects is nearly $400 million, with more than 3,300 construction jobs generated. And let’s get our minority vendors tied into those opportunities.


I’ve fought to loosen restrictions on businesses when it made sense, helping push for the safe reopening of malls, barber shops and nail salons, bowling alleys, movie theaters, gyms, and catering halls—among others. Even when it hasn’t been easy politically, I’ve advocated for businesses that have followed the rules and are just trying to get by. And I’ll continue to advocate for common-sense reopening.


We need businesses in every community to grow and thrive on Long Island. To that end, we’ve teamed up with our partners in Suffolk County to identify and address disparities in access, so we can help entrepreneurs across the island take their business to the next level.

Though these are difficult times, I will never give up on our Main Streets. Prior to the pandemic we experienced a historic revitalization of our downtowns with new transit-oriented development and walkable communities that attract young people. I’m pleased to see that work continues, most recently in Hicksville.

When it comes to rethinking how we use public spaces during the pandemic, Nassau has led the way. Our first-of-its-kind Open Streets pilot program was a smashing success, with outdoor dining and retail providing both a town square feeling in our downtowns, while also boosting revenue for businesses struggling to make ends meet. That’s why we’ll build on the Open Streets program this summer, by allowing further flexibility for businesses and local municipalities who want to give the outdoors a try.

No New Taxes Or Cuts In Services

During of the peak of the COVID-19 crisis, I made three commitments for my administration’s budget: no property tax increases; our law enforcement and front-line workers will have the resources they need; and we will maintain fiscal integrity. And I kept these promises.

Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, left, and County Executive Laura Curran listen as District Attorney Madeline Singas speaks in front of the Police Academy in Massapequa Park last fall. Curran expressed her strong support for law enforcement in her speech. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Although the worst of the storm is over, we still have a lot to tackle. And we can handle it because of our fiscal discipline before the crisis. Nassau County ended 2019 with a surplus, which allowed us to navigate the financial devastation of 2020 better than most.

We successfully refinanced county debt and avoided harmful cuts to life-saving resources and programs that keep our communities healthy and safe. The county does not collect an additional cent of property taxes. And there will be no layoffs of county workers, who have served as our front line when we needed them most. And for the first time in 15 years, Moody’s has upgraded Nassau County’s bond rating to Positive, citing “a third consecutive year of improved financial results” and “ongoing budget and management discipline.”

The newly-passed American Rescue Plan will help the county continue to deliver relief, and we’ll take a methodical, targeted, and bipartisan approach to make sure we recover as one Nassau, and bounce back stronger than ever.


Although the worst of the storm is over, we still have a lot to tackle. And we can handle it because of our fiscal discipline before the crisis. Nassau County ended 2019 with a surplus, which allowed us to navigate the financial devastation of 2020 better than most.


An important building block in our financial turnaround is completing collective bargaining with our county unions. After reaching agreements with Detectives and Superior Officers, we only have a few to go. Securing quality agreements is one of my highest priorities. We have terrific employees in Nassau County, and I want to settle these contracts and provide certainty for our workforce on wages and benefits. The men and women who are employed by Nassau County deliver every day for our residents, and I’ll continue to stand by them.

The UBS Arena at Belmont Park is expected to open in time to host the New York Islanders for the 2021-22 NHL season. (Contributed rendering)

At the same time, my Administration will continue policies of fiscal restraint so that the county can get finally, after almost a decade, end the State’s control over county finances.

My first campaign for county executive was about a promise that I wouldn’t just do what was popular—I would do the right things for the right reasons. In the face of the usual politics and pandering, we fixed a broken property assessment system that bankrupted our county.

Everyone knows taxes on Long Island are too high, and that’s why the county has not collected one additional cent more in property taxes since I’ve been county executive. We took several steps throughout the pandemic to provide relief to taxpayers wherever possible — delaying deadlines, waiving fees, and pausing assessments to protect homeowners from the pandemic’s economic impact.

And, if you disagree with the updated market value of your property you will always have the right to file a grievance. Homeowners will have until April 30 to file their grievance. I will never stop to fighting to protect taxpayers from any hikes, including when it means holding utilities like PSEG-LI and LIPA accountable. And, ensuring every dime of taxpayer funds are wisely spent on the high-quality services our residents expect and deserve.

Safety Is Job No. 1

Curran touted this report in US News last September. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

As county executive, my first job is keeping you safe, and as I speak to you tonight, Nassau County is the No. 1 safest community in all of America, according to US News and World Report. Our county is enjoying record-low crime rates. Compared to a decade ago, major crime has been cut by a third. We’ve doubled down on our commitment to build trust between police and the communities they serve, and the results are paying off. But we’re not resting on our laurels.

2020 saw a nationwide call to improve policing and we heard that call in Nassau, kicking off more than 150 community meetings that gave law enforcement, protest organizers, and the community a seat at the table. I want to commend the young men and women, such as the Young Men of Elmont, for their commitment to making positive change in their communities.

The dialogue we started helped inform a comprehensive police reform plan passed by the County Legislature in a bipartisan manner. I’m proud to announce that for the first time in history, Nassau County police officers will wear body cameras, a proven tool for accountability, safety, and improved officer performance. Our plan includes unprecedented steps to increase police data transparency, enhance mental health response, provide additional de-escalation and anti-bias training, and ensure our force reflects the diversity of our communities. I commend Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and his entire team for their efforts in this important work.

Tonight, I’d like to honor the memory of William J. Willett, one of the first African American officers on the force who ended his 48-year career as the first Black police commissioner in Nassau County. The Nassau County Police Department Headquarters will soon be named in the honor of Willett, who blazed a trail for so many. It is a further tribute to Commissioner Willett that the current highest-ranking chiefs of the Nassau County Police Department are diverse in both race and gender. I’m very proud of our law enforcement. They put their lives on the line every day—something we should never forget.

I’ll never forget when moments after being sworn in on January 1, 2018, I was informed that Officer Willard Gomes, a young officer on highway patrol, was struck by a drunk driver and was hanging on for his life. I went to visit Officer Gomes and witnessed firsthand the dangers officers face every day just doing their jobs. We should never take this bravery for granted.

We should never be afraid to talk about ways to improve policing–but there will be no defunding the police in Nassau County. Our law enforcement will always have my respect, and I’ll always have their back. In these times, it’s important to demonstrate that maintaining public safety, supporting the police, and improving policing are common goals for every community. You may not read about it often, but it’s possible to do it all. Nassau County is proof.

Curran looks forward to the opening of this facility on the campus of Nassau County Community. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

So how did Nassau County earn that number one safety ranking? It’s important to first credit the Nassau County PD, the District Attorney, Fire Service, Sheriff’s Office, Probation, Medics, Office of Emergency Management and other first responders for the outstanding job they’ve done for us.

However, another important takeaway from Nassau becoming the safest county in America is that intelligence-led, community-based policing works. Intelligence-led policing can’t work without a collaborative approach that combines problem-solving policing, information sharing, and enhanced intelligence operations. The system depends on cooperation among various agencies at the federal, state, and local level, and perhaps most importantly – a close bond between law enforcement and the local community.

This approach gets results: Nassau’s partnership with federal and state partners, along with close cooperation from the community, has been key to our success in eradicating gang violence and stemming the flow of deadly drugs like Fentanyl into our neighborhoods. Intelligence-led policing recognizes that society cannot arrest its way out of problems, and instead focuses on partnering with the community to identify potential victims and repeat offenders, then provide low-level offenders the opportunity to change their behavior before getting in trouble for a more serious crime. Nassau has invested in proactive community partnerships that promote this model, such as alternatives-to-incarceration peer programs for juvenile offenders.


We should never be afraid to talk about ways to improve policing–but there will be no defunding the police in Nassau County. Our law enforcement will always have my respect, and I’ll always have their back.


On the topic of legalized cannabis, the concerns raised by the community task force I convened two years ago remain unanswered, including law enforcement’s inability to detect impaired driving. These questions must be answered.

We must continue to invest in smart policing and continue to build trust between police and the communities they serve. That’s why Nassau County has increased the number of Problem-Oriented Policing Officers. We’re expanding the Police Athletic League for the first time in 50 years, with new programs in Elmont, Roosevelt, and Lawrence, allowing police to build relationships with young people through sports, crafts, educational programs, and more.

The new train station at Carle Place, part of the Long Island Rail Road Expansion Project, is nearing completion. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

We know it’s important that our police receive the highest level of training, but since 1982, Nassau County’s law enforcement officers haven’t had access to a permanent training facility. Instead of learning in a state-of-the-art police academy, the men and women we depend on for our safety have been shuffled through temporary and overly costly facilities. That ends with this administration and this County Legislature. In a few months, thanks to public and private support gathered through the Nassau County Police Department Foundation, we will open the Nassau County Training and Intelligence Center right on the Nassau Community College Campus.

The Long Island Rail Road will continue to be a key factor in Nassau County’s economic health. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

And speaking of openings, Belmont–here we come.  The October opening of a new home for our New York Islanders marks another economic milestone for Nassau County. I want to thank the state, the Islanders, and the NHL for their partnership. The new UBS Belmont Arena will achieve three critical goals: boost our economy, bring the Islanders home to Long Island (where they belong), and expand our public transit network. Three goals—a hat trick for Nassau County.

For decades, advancement in public transportation on Long Island was at a standstill. Now, the state is building the first full-time Long Island Railroad station in almost 50 years. When the Elmont station opens, it will ease congestion, and provide a new green public transit option. We will continue to support investments in rail connections and fight short- sighted service reductions. Now is the time to build confidence in public transit and–given the recent $14 billion in stimulus the MTA received–recent service reductions were a huge mistake. We have invested too much–in the new Moynihan Station, in East Side access–and must not back away from efforts to be connected regionally.

Primed To Win The Future

The pandemic has disrupted life as we know it, but I believe Nassau is primed to win the future. Our real estate market is booming like no other, with property values skyrocketing. Nassau is the place to be. Building a Nassau County that can thrive in this new era, however, requires us to embrace forward-looking change, and not wait until it’s too late. I’d like to thank the Nassau County Legislature for unanimously approving amendments to the Coliseum Lease and Nassau Hub Development Plan that grant Nassau Live and developer RXR time to firm up plans for a new entertainment district, with the iconic Coliseum at center stage. Let’s position the building for success–to complement rather than compete with the new UBS Belmont arena. This will be the transformative project we have always envisioned, and now is the time to make it happen.

The Nassau Hub plan has the potential to finally make use of the acreage surrounding the Nassau Coliseum. (Contributed rendering)

Fighting COVID-19 and reopening our economy has of course been our central focus this year, but recent extreme weather events remind us of something we can’t ignore: climate change is real, and it is happening now. Just like with COVID, Nassau County has been thrust onto the frontline. Extreme weather events, shifting seasons, more intense rainfall, changes to marine life (including an increase in sharks by the shore) and dramatic sea-level rise – these accelerating trends pose a threat to our way of life on Long Island.

Some say the climate crisis is too big or distant a problem for local governments to address. I disagree, because I know what we do here matters. Like how Nassau was thrust into the epicenter of a global pandemic, we are on the frontline of the climate crisis because we are a low-lying island. We ought to lead the way on climate, not just to preserve our own health and safety, but also to demonstrate that government need not abandon bold leadership in difficult times.

That’s why last year I committed the county to become a Climate Smart Community. We are setting ambitious goals for carbon dioxide reduction and transitioning to green technology and infrastructure. My administration is prioritizing initiatives that protect the environment and save taxpayers money, like decreasing energy usage, implementing LEED standards for new facilities, and incorporating green technologies, like electric buses. We will shift to clean, renewable energy and reduce solid waste while protecting open space and water quality. And the county is enhancing community resilience to climate change by better protecting against sea level rise and storm surges. The county has partnered with state to start construction this year of over $35 million of road and drainage infrastructure improvements focused on resiliency, mostly funded by state and federal sources.

The Bay Park water treatment plant will be part of one of the largest infrastructure project in Nassau County’s history. (NYS Interactive Gateway)

And the biggest infrastructure project of our lifetimes is the Western Bays Initiative, which gets started this month with the Bay Park Conveyance Project. In partnership with New York State and the federal government, we are moving forward with more than $600 million in funding to remove harmful discharges and improve water quality on the south shore. This will translate into a tremendous economic boost for the region and 2,400 new jobs. In addition to cleaning our waterways, the project will restore marshland, improve storm resilience, boost shell-fishing, and create a better ecosystem. The improved water quality we’ll see will mean a better quality of life for residents.


Some say the climate crisis is too big or distant a problem for local governments to address. I disagree, because I know what we do here matters. Like how Nassau was thrust into the epicenter of a global pandemic, we are on the frontline of the climate crisis because we are a low-lying island.


We should do all we can now to harness the economic potential of the green energy industry for our local businesses and our workforce. I believe offshore wind is an area of real opportunity. With two offshore wind farms already being built off the coast of Long Island, we will be generating 1,700 megawatts of clean energy. This is enough to power over 1 million homes. Let’s build more. I know we can count on our partners in Labor – like John Durso at the Long Island Federation and Matthew Aracich at the Building and Construction Trades Council, joining with our BOCES, the Workforce Development Institute, and our colleges–to begin the important work of establishing training and apprenticeship programs to get our residents ready for these new industry jobs.

Grant Park in Hewlett will see some improvements under Curran’s plans. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

In the era of social distancing, our parks are more important than ever. We’ve stepped up investment in county park maintenance and enhancement, which is key to making Nassau a great place to live, work, and play. The County is restoring and transforming three major parks, including Centennial Park in Roosevelt, Christopher Morley Park in Roslyn, and Inwood Park. We’re upgrading amenities at Grant Park in Hewlett, Reverend McKay Preserve in Roosevelt, Bay Park in East Rockaway, Nickerson Beach, and Eisenhower Park, the home of our Veterans Memorial.

Last year marked 75 years since the end of World War II. Like COVID, the war changed everything about our lives, including right here on Long Island. Throughout that era, it was men and women in Nassau County, whether at Grumman or Republic, who built the tools of a history-defining victory. We remember what we built. And the values our country stood up for.

In the face of a new historic crisis, we must continue to build and remain true to these values. Today, Nassau County is the proud home to one of the largest veterans populations in the state. Our commitment to them will always remain sacred, and under Executive Director Ralph Esposito, our Nassau Veterans Services Agency is helping more vets than ever find employment, secure benefits, get vaccinated for COVID-19 and sometimes just find a warm coat and a hot meal. One of the greatest challenges veterans face nationwide is housing insecurity. I recently announced the county has secured land at Mitchel Field to create affordable housing for vets who need it. I want to thank the Legislature for coming together to ensure dignity for our heroes.

Whether at home or abroad, we can never forget those who risked their lives, and those who gave their lives so that we could live free. That is this week I was proud to announce a public-private partnership to install a new memorial at Eisenhower Park Veterans Memorial to honor Veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq Wars.

When it comes to the values we hold dear, we stand firm. I’m proud of county employees like John O’Dougherty of Nassau County DPW, and Nassau County Police Officers Bonilla, Rambharose, Moore, Meyer, Krulder, Delarosa, Castellano, and Shank, who answered the call to safeguard those values as  reservists protecting the Presidential Inauguration, helping ensure the peaceful transfer of power. Hatred has no home in Nassau, and this year we will continue to fight hate with bold action to deter violence, protect our citizens and educate our people about the causes and terrible consequences of hate. Through Unified Long Island, a multi-faith multi-racial community effort to respond to hate crimes, and however else necessary, we will continue to confront all forms of bigotry, so they never know comfort in our communities.


Today, Nassau County is the proud home to one of the largest veterans populations in the state. Our commitment to them will always remain sacred, and under Executive Director Ralph Esposito, our Nassau Veterans Services Agency is helping more vets than ever find employment, secure benefits, get vaccinated for COVID-19 and sometimes just find a warm coat and a hot meal.


Local governments like Nassau County have been on the front line this past year, and the pandemic only underscored just how important a functioning government is. I believe government can work for the people, but only when it’s honest, transparent, and responsive. And for too long, that was the opposite of what we had here in Nassau.

Curran announced a proposed new war memorial to commemorate those who lost their lives in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It will join other memorials in Eisenhower Park. (Office of the County Executive)

Six years ago, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas issued a report outlining recommendations to address waste, fraud, and abuse that Nassau County became infamous for. Tonight, I’m proud to announce that my administration has followed through on every action item from that report. We’ve taken the politics out of governing and struck blow after blow at the culture of corruption using oversight, transparency, and audit trails as our weapons – and we’re just getting started.

As tough as this year has been, I know that Nassau residents are tougher. And when we come together, we get the job done. I know we’re eager to get vaccinated and turn the corner, and wider distribution is imminent. But as we move towards finally winning this war, I have two requests for my fellow Nassau residents. First, let’s not forget those friends or neighbors who are still struggling. Let’s keep reaching out, and volunteering, and donating to food banks. Together we’ll show it doesn’t take a once-in-a-century crisis to make a difference in the lives of others.

Second, let’s not return to normal. Let’s be better. Let’s think bigger, and bolder. If anything, this past year has shown us what we can achieve. Like Baldwin’s own NASA Astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, who could soon be the first woman to ever walk on the moon. Let’s hold onto that unique, American spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. Like Abigail Rivera and Gilberto Lopez, who despite the pandemic, pushed ahead to open up their dream restaurant, Rivers Café in Floral Park. Of working for the greater good, and not just ourselves. Like Det. Luis Alvarez of Oceanside, who stood up and fought for his fellow 9/11 first responders until his dying breath.


Second, let’s not return to normal. Let’s be better. Let’s think bigger, and bolder. If anything, this past year has shown us what we can achieve.


As your county executive, I’ve been so proud to witness up-close the extraordinary things you are doing every day. And I’ve been proud to witness your intelligence and resilience. And that’s how I know that the State of our County is strong. Because you are strong—stronger than you ever imagined. Thank you for listening, and may God Bless Nassau County and the United States of America.

John Ferretti’s Response

My name is John Ferretti and I have the honor of serving as County Legislator for Nassau’s 15th legislative district that includes Levittown, Salisbury, as well as parts of East Meadow, Bethpage, Wantagh and Seaford.

I’d like to thank News 12, and you watching at home for allowing me a few minutes to share some thoughts on the state of our county on behalf of the Republican Legislative Majority.

Legislator John Ferretti. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Throughout this incredibly difficult time, the legislature has continued to meet regularly to make sure Nassau’s first responders, healthcare experts, and other essential workers have the resources they need to remain safe while helping others. Since the vaccine has been made available the Majority has advocated to make it easier for Nassau’s most vulnerable to get appointments, especially our seniors.

We called on the County Executive to set up a mass vaccination site at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, create a county help line for seniors without access to the internet, and establish a pre-registration system for seniors to sign up for appointments without having to refresh an online page for hours. While there’s still much to be done to ensure residents are able to get vaccinated, I’m happy to see that the pre-registration site and hotline are now up and running, and the Coliseum, as of yesterday, has started as a mass vaccination site.

In the last year, the Republican Majority, Democratic minority and the county executive have been able to work together on critical initiatives that will benefit Nassau residents. Earlier this month, the county executive signed a bill I sponsored, “Benny’s law,” creating a registry of judicially determined dangerous dogs. We worked collaboratively to pass bills that created two veterans-only parking spots at all county facilities and created discounts at county parks for veterans holding New York State’s Liberty Pass.

While we’ve worked together on many initiatives, there’s still a sharp contrast between the vision of the Republican majority and the Curran administration on many key issues. In this year’s budget, the county executive overestimated the sales tax revenue shortfall due to COVID, which the administration now acknowledges, creating a massive, hole in the budget. By creating this hole, the county executive justified borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, a massive undertaking that will saddle our children and grandchildren with overwhelming debt. After needlessly borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, the administration is trying to take credit for a $78 million surplus in 2020.

If we truly had a $78 million surplus, why were Nassau residents asked to wait hours upon hours on massive lines to get a COVID test at the height of the pandemic? Why were schools, hospitals, medical facilities and businesses struggling to obtain PPE? Why have small businesses, seniors, veterans and other Nassau residents continued to struggle when that money could have been put back into their pockets?


By creating this hole, the county executive justified borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, a massive undertaking that will saddle our children and grandchildren with overwhelming debt. After needlessly borrowing hundreds of millions of dollars, the administration is trying to take credit for a $78 million surplus in 2020.


While touting a surplus makes for a great headline in an election year, Nassau residents were short-changed in testing, PPE and other resources that the county could have and should have supplied to those in need.

As infection rates start to fall, and more residents become vaccinated, many continue to struggle with the immense financial burden brought on by the pandemic. Unfortunately, as the pandemic ravaged the island and swept through our communities, the county executive raised property taxes by nearly $10 million. The Republican Majority amended the county executive’s budget to remove her tax hike, but, unfortunately, she vetoed the amendment.

In addition to the property tax increase in the county executive’s budget, Nassau residents have now received their first tax bills under the reassessment. From Elmont to Massapequa, Levittown to Glen Cove, Port Washington to Freeport, county executive Curran’s reassessment has resulted in unfair tax bills for all Nassau County residents. Newsday recently reported that approximately 260,000 Nassau property owners received a tax increase as a result of the county executive’s reassessment.

Take a second and think about your own property taxes this year. Did you see an increase? If so, under the “Phase-In” deal the county executive negotiated with state lawmakers, your taxes are likely to continue to increase by a similar amount for the next four years. If you were one of the few who saw a property tax decrease, under this plan, this year you’ll only see approximately 20 percent of the decrease you’re entitled to. You’ll continue to pay more than your fair share, for another 4 years.

Though Curran spoke of the county’s “sacred trust” to veterans, Ferretti charged that her reassessment has hurt seniors and veterans. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

This lose-lose situation could have been rectified with a bill that the Republican Majority worked with members of the New York State Legislature to introduce. Unfortunately our bill was dismissed as “Playing Politics” by the Curran administration.

While often, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, when it comes to reassessment, all Nassau residents should be protected from unfair tax bills.

Just last week I was speaking to a Navy veteran who lives in a classic Levittown home. He’s lived in his home for more than 36 years. His taxes went up more than $2,000 this year alone. Now, on top of having to worry about his health, and how to get a vaccine to be able to see his grandchildren again, he now has to worry about how he can afford to remain in his home.

This condo complex, going up on Merrick Road in Westbury, is part of the recent pattern of multifamily developments across the county. (Photo by Frank Rizzo)

Unfortunately, situations like this have become all too common in Nassau County. Government should be making it easier for seniors to stay here, in Nassau, with their families where they belong. What’s worse, tens of thousands of errors on seniors tax bills have already been uncovered and the administration can’t say for sure that more don’t exist. This is making it impossible for seniors to stay in their homes and it’s just not right.

Last month, the majority passed a bill which would have allowed Nassau residents to decide if they wanted an elected assessor, rather than a politically-appointed assessor, like the one we currently have. Earlier this week the county executive vetoed that bill taking the choice away.

Rest assured, the Republican Majority will continue fighting every single day that we have the privilege of representing you, for the fairness, accuracy and transparency that’s been sorely missing in this reassessment process. You deserve nothing less.

While the last year has been incredibly challenging, I have confidence that Nassau’s best days lie ahead. The Republican majority has been and will continue to be committed to ensuring every Nassau resident can enjoy the quality of life they deserve at the lowest possible cost.


Rest assured, the Republican Majority will continue fighting every single day that we have the privilege of representing you, for the fairness, accuracy and transparency that’s been sorely missing in this reassessment process. You deserve nothing less.


I look forward to the days and months ahead, filled with school events, religious ceremonies, concerts, barbecues and family get-togethers. There will always be challenges to overcome, but we’ve persevered from the worst that Covid has brought upon us and now we will forge a path to a better and more prosperous future for generations to come.

On behalf of my Republican colleagues, may God bless you and your families and may God bless the United States of America. Thank you, and good night.

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