(Hauppauge, NY-April 15, 2013) Today, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone unveiled his proposed 2014-2016 Capital Budget & Program. The budget supports the County’s critical operations as well as aligns the priorities of economic development, infrastructure improvements and public safety. The proposed 2014 Capital Budget of $129.5 million represents a 27% decrease from the 2013 Adopted Capital Budget and is 60% less than requested by County Department Heads. The 2013 adopted Capital Budget was $177.2 million.
“This proposed Capital Budget makes important investments in our infrastructure but also reflects our fiscal reality that we cannot afford to saddle taxpayers with too much debt,” County Executive Bellone said. “This is a leaner Capital Budget than we’ve seen in the past, but we are making critical investments in long-term economic growth, public safety and infrastructure.”
“As the County has strained fiscal resources due to a structural budget imbalance dating back to 2008 and a string of recent natural disasters, it is imperative that we live within our means and invest in critically important projects that will move this County forward,” County Executive Bellone added.
The 2014 Capital Budget includes a new funding code (FE) to designate storm-related and mitigation projects which are being submitted for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other Federal Recovery funding programs. These agencies offer hundreds of programs for rebuilding and hazard mitigation projects which Suffolk County can leverage for the benefit of Suffolk County residents and assists in the cost not being fully burdened by Suffolk County government.
Proactive Debt Management Plan
To reverse the trend of an ever growing debt burden and provide lasting change to the County’s long term debt obligations, the County Executive urges the Suffolk County Legislature and the Suffolk County Comptroller to support the following:
- Establish a set of guidelines for the use of capital debt which seeks to limit growth in debt service costs.
- Repurpose Authorized or Unissued Debt-Approximately 33% of outstanding debt authorizations approved by Legislative resolution have not been issued due to a variety of factors including:
o Change of project cost during multi-phased implementation;
o Dissipation of specific needs overtime
o Technological advances which reduce costs or needs
o Change of policy direction by legislature or Executive
- Address capital funding appropriated outside of the Adopted Capital Budget-Capital funding has exceeded adopted levels of funding in 7 of the past 10 years. While the Suffolk County Charter allows for projects which are funded 50 percent or more by non-Suffolk County dollars to be added to the Capital Budget during a year, this process has attributed to capital funding appropriated exceeding capital funding adopted.
- Evaluate new debt issuance in terms of payback and if it will be self-supporting through reduced operating costs or improved economic development.
Included as part of the Capital Budget and Program are initiatives which will invigorate our economy and provide long lasting benefits to Suffolk County residents.
- Jumpstart Suffolk-$5M
- Infrastructure Improvements for Workforce Housing/Incentive Funding-$5M
- Downtown Revitalization program-$500,000
The public safety of Suffolk County residents is a core quality of life initiative and assists in promoting a thriving economy. The 2014 Capital Budget addresses critical public safety initiatives including:
- Closed Loop Traffic Signal System: $5M
- Microwave Replacement: $1.85M
- Purchase of communication equipment and enhancements to 800 MHZ radio communications system-$1.45M
The County’s sewer infrastructure is an essential component of Suffolk County’s economic development agenda. Projects included in the 2014 Capital Budget:
- Improvements to various districts, including Port Jefferson, Coventry Manor, Selden, Hauppauge and Birchwood- $6.75 million
- Sewer facility maintenance equipment-$1 million.
- Sewer district safety and security program-$750,000
Operational savings and service delivery efficiencies can be achieved through investments in technology. The 2014 Capital Budget supports investment in the following:
- Suffolk County Disaster Recovery - $1M
- New Microsoft Licensing Agreement - $892k
- Upgrade Payroll System Database - $900K
Road Construction and Roadway Safety & Maintenance
Repairing, maintaining and improving our roadways is important to the county’s infrastructure and integral to the economic growth of our local economy and supports hundreds of local jobs. The 2014 Capital Budget funds the following:
- CR 13 Clinton Ave/Fifth/Crooked Hill-$9M
- CR 48 Middle Rd from Horton Ave to Main Street-$6.5M
- CR 97 Reconstruction of Nicolls Road-$3.75m
- CR 73 Roanoke Ave-$4.2M
“I thank the Legislature for their consideration of the proposed Capital Budget and Program and look forward to their support in adopting the budget as well as a comprehensive debt management plan for reducing long term debt.”