Leeper: Stop panic buying

  • Nassau County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Danny Leeper asked county residents to stop buy excessive amounts of supplies during a board meeting Monday. FILE PHOTO
    Nassau County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Danny Leeper asked county residents to stop buy excessive amounts of supplies during a board meeting Monday. FILE PHOTO

Taking the next step to prevent the spread of coronavirus, most Nassau County county commissioners participated in a board meeting Monday evening by conference call. Physically present were Chairman Danny Leeper, County Manager and Attorney Michael Mullin, Assistant County Manager Taco Pope, Office of Management & Budget Director Megan Diehl, and administrative staff to record the meeting’s minutes.

Diehl received approval for a budget amendment to increase the fiscal year 2019-20 budget based on accounts being carried forward from the prior year. In all, there were “about $11 million” more in funds to carry forward than anticipated, according to Diehl. The amount included $6.3 million in FEMA reimbursements from Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Matthew, funds that Diehl recommended go into the county’s emergency reserves. Another unanticipated bonus was $670,000 in interest earned on accounts. There was another $1.7 million in equity that came back through constitutional officers. On the expenditure side, Diehl pointed to positions that have not yet been filled.

“Given all the bad news we’ve received, this is certainly great news,” said Mullin. “This is the highest reserve I think Nassau has ever had and puts you back in a much better position. We are entering hurricane season soon and we have this pandemic that we have no idea what the end result financially will be, but from a county standpoint, I think you are in the best financial situation you have ever been in and that’s attributable to your good fiscal stewardship on behalf of the citizens.”

The Nassau County Board of County Commissioners also approved two new positions for the County Manager’s Office. As part of their consideration, the board received this input from staff regarding the office: “Staff has determined that the current structure is not sustainable and that additional staffing is needed to assist with the workload of the County Manager and to streamline operations within the office. ... Staff is suggesting an additional Assistant County Manager so oversight of the 11 Board Departments can be split between the two Assistant County Managers. ... Staff is also suggesting an additional administrative support position to assist the County Manager and the two Assistant County Managers. Currently, there is one administrative position and that employee is stretched between providing support to the County Manager, all 5 County Commissioners, the 11 Board Departments, and assisting the general public through phone calls, office visits and emails.”

The second assistant county manager could be hired at a salary range of $110,652-$163,370 annually. The administrative assistant could be hired at a salary range of $35,256-$53,647 annually, according to the position requests submitted as part of the board’s packet.

Earlier this year, Mullin, who has been serving in the dual role of county manager and county attorney, announced he will be transferring the county manager role to Pope late this summer. 

The board also approved an amendment to the county’s Future Land Use Map related to the William Burgess Overlay District being sent to state agencies for review before a future public hearing. Many other items on the March 23 agenda were continued to
April 27.

Commissioners Aaron Bell and Thomas R. Ford were elected to serve on the county’s Value Adjustment Board with Bell serving as chair.

In his closing remarks, Leeper encouraged residents to continue to shop locally whenever possible in order to support area businesses. Leeper also urged the community, “Stop the panic buying. Stop the panic buying today. We have people who actually need products they can’t purchase so please stop the panic buying. Let people have the resources they need.”