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June 16, 2008

DiNapoli Hails State Legislature’s Passage
of Government Accountability Bill

‘Special Districts’ Legislation Passes Both Houses

State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli hailed the passage of legislation he and Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi proposed (A.11156-S.8188) as a major step toward reducing government costs and increasing government transparency and accountability.

“Special districts provide important services to taxpayers,” DiNapoli said. “But those same taxpayers have become frustrated by a lack of transparency and information about how their tax dollars are spent. When this legislation is signed into law, taxpayers will have that information. They’ll get a closer look at the many levels of government their taxes support.”

Towns establish special districts so they can offer services such as lighting, water, sewer, refuse collection, parks and drainage into a particular area. State law provides the framework for how special districts can be established, financed and operated. There are more than 6,900 special districts statewide, the majority of which are funded through property assessments and user fees.

Provisions of DiNapoli and Suozzi’s proposal focus on those special districts that are governed by independently elected boards of commissioners, and include the following:

  • Establishes a uniform date for public hearings conducted by the board of commissioners on district budget estimates before these budgets are submitted to the town;
  • Requires that budget estimates, annual financial reports, public notices and audit reports are posted on the websites of both the district and of the town in which the district is located; and
  • Requires adequate notice to the public for annual budget hearings including the time, date, location, purpose of the hearing and the availability of an estimate of the proposed expenditures and revenues.



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