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Sunday, May 29, 2016
Nassau County Legislature OKs sewer privatization
Mangano promises to save taxpayers $233 million
By Mary Malloy and Laura Schofer mmalloy@liherald.com, lschofer@liherald.com
Courtesy Nassau County
The Bay Park sewage plant in East Rockaway is one of three wastewater treatment facilities that will be maintained and operated by United Water.

The Nassau County Legislature’s seven-member, bipartisan rules committee unanimously passed a plan on July 18 to implement a long-term contract for the control of the county’s wastewater system.

Promising to save taxpayers roughly $240 million over the next 20 years, County Executive Ed Mangano had announced a partnership with United Water on June 30, in which the company will manage and operate the county’s three wastewater treatment facilities, which include 53 pumping stations and a 3,000-mile sewer system. The county will pay United Water $57.4 million annually.

“This agreement offers a sustainable path forward for our sewage treatment infrastructure while also offering tremendous financial and environmental benefits,” said Norma Gonsalves, the Legislature’s presiding officer and a rules committee member. The others who gave their approval were Legislators Kevan Abrahams, Dennis Dunne, Judy Jacobs, Howard Kopel, Richard Nicolello and Carrie Solages.

A hearing before the full Legislature on July 14 was followed four days later by a vote by the committee. Cristina Brennan, the deputy director of communications, said that since it is a personal service agreement, it needed only the approval of the rules committee.

The deal will now go to the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that oversees the county’s finances, for approval.

“This agreement shifts Nassau away from an antiquated sewage treatment infrastructure that was becoming a burden to both the county and its residents,” said Kopel, whose district includes Bay Park and its sewage plant. “[It] provides financial savings and environmental upgrades over the current system, and allows the county to retain ownership of the sewage treatment plants.”

“I think the process of having this vote go through the rules committee only is completely improper,” said Legislator Dave Denenberg, an outspoken advocate of upgrading the county’s sewage plants. “This is a maintenance operation agreement for 20 years for the entire wastewater system that affects one million Nassau County residents. I also have reservations about a private monopoly taking control of a public facility.”


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Although it is not mentioned in this article part of the takeover of Nassau County's sewer department is in conjunction with "Suez Environnement" a foreign, French-based company. What happened to keeping the jobs in the USA? This article is riddled with double speak and more of the same old garbage we have come to expect from Nassau County's corrupt political machine. A quote from the article states: "A Nassau County committee last Friday signed off on final approval for a $1.14 billion, 20-year deal to contract wastewater experts that could save taxpayers $233.1 million." So that's approximately $11.2 million per year. With approximately 1.3 million people in Nassau County that savings equates to about $9 per person. Whoa!!! We can open that high interest CD now!, assuming we ever see the savings which I have my doubts about. And the fact of the matter is, if these people were so concerned about Long Island's water quality, they would stop the over development as in the planned Ronkonkoma Hub, the planned Port Jefferson mini-city: "Tritec officials confirmed they want to purchase the purchase vacant 3.35-acre Heritage Inn Motel for $3.9 million and convert it into a 14,3000 square foot building. In addition to 42 one-bedroom and 70 two-bedroom apartments, the development would include patio decks, a club room, connections to community walking networks and useable outdoor spaces. Then there was the Serota Pines proposed "urban-like" development consisting of: "The developers want to construct a three-part plan including 350 housing units, a 339,700 square foot retail center, 30,800 square feet of restaurant space, an additional 61,300 square feet of retail services, a 60,000 square foot theater complex, a 5-story, 100,000 square foot hotel along with 818,130 square feet of industrial space and 302,820 square feet of “flex office in mixed-use buildings.” Currently Peconic Baykeeper, Inc. is suing...."An environmental advocacy group has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Islip to stop the Islip Pines-Serota development, saying the project's scale could endanger Long Island's water quality." Well at least someone has some brains!

And finally, my deepest concerns for the mis-managing staff within the County of Nassau for running the sewer system into the ground, no pun intended. I would be devastated if there were any layoffs from their bloated bureaucratic halls, lest they not be entitled to their ultra-lucrative pensions...tsk, tsk, tsk, what a shame this would be. So we're putting it into the hands of a foreign/domestic company. What fabulous news!

So when Mr. Mangano tells you it's going to reduce our taxes, we know what that really means, hold onto your wallet. If Mr. Mangano were seriously concerned about our drinking water, he would stop unnecessary development of Nassau County; for goodness sake, we don't need another strip mall, retail establishment, indoor mall, multi-unit housing, etc. We've got more than we can handle. This is all to keep developers on Long Island along with their cushy tax-abatements. Our water is in jeopardy, due to the very practices our local officials insist on implementing. Long Island's water supply is very delicate and different than that of NYC, which gets its water from reservoirs.

You know what Ronald Reagan said, "the scariest words you can hear are 'I'm from the government and I'm hear to help'" - something to that affect.

Seriously Mr. Mangano - Suez Environnement? SHAME ON YOU!

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