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Nassau County Passes Budget Amid Heated Complaints About New Fees

MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A raucous vote was held Monday for the controversial 2017 Nassau County budget – with the county executive under indictment and the legislature at odds.

As CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported, anger and frustration spilled out of the aisles.

"Everybody's pushing us under the rug," one man said.

In droves, residents decried Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano's new fees as "illegal taxes."

"A particularly corrupt government," a woman said.

The public begged the Nassau County Legislature not to approve the controversial 2017 budget.

"You are breaking state and federal law," a resident said.

The AAA, normally neutral, blasted the $105 public safety fee that was tacked onto all motorists' traffic and parking tickets.

"Using traffic enforcement to balance budget is bad public policy," said Alec Slatky of AAA Northeast.

An expired meter in Nassau County would result in a ticket of $220, compared with $35 across the city line in Queens. Parking opposite traffic would also cost $220 compared with $45 in Queens, parking outside a stall would cost $240 compared with $65 in Queens, and an expired registration would cost $285 compared with $65 in Queens.

"Does Nassau County want to destroy local downtowns?" a woman said at a budget hearing.

County Executive Ed Mangano told CBS2 last month that the fee will go for policing.

He added: "First, good news for homeowners – there's no property tax increase."

But Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos found $115 million in risky revenue, and instead called for a 2.5 percent reduction in all county departments, which he said "will therefore make the fee increases unnecessary."

Among other fees that were lambasted were those for health clubs, cremations, the parks department, golf, swimming, ice skating, and pet groomers.

"The $600 fee for dog groomers and fitness coordinators is absurd," a resident said.

The Democrats at the hearing said they are against all fees. The Republicans acquiesced, saying the majority would hold off approving any fees.

The budget passed 11-6. As unpopular as that is a week before the election, it may not be final – the Republican majority said it will take 30 days to reconsider whether the fees should be instituted.

New board members said if they are forced to make cuts, Nassau County's fiscal self-determination could be placed in doubt for years.

Mangano, who is facing federal corruption charges, did not attend the debate and vote on Monday. It is unclear if he plans to run again when his term expires next year.

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