Thursday, September 27, 2007

Suozzi Moves To Consolidate Sewer Districts

A Good Start In Cleaning Up The Cesspools That Are The Special Taxing Districts

County Executive Tom Suozzi recently announced an agreement to consolidate four local sewer districts with Nassau County's Sewer and Storm Water Authority, merging a common service, eliminating self-perpetuating fiefdoms, and, hopefully, saving the taxpayers money.

"There could be no better place to shake up the status quo and to begin to untangle the special district log jam than at the sewer districts," commented Michael Uhl, a former Commissioner of the West Hempstead Water District, who, having brought much needed reforms to the waterlogged in his hometown, now challenges the longstanding inertia of legislative malaise in Nassau County's 8th Legislative District.

Of course, there are questions as to the ability of Nassau's system to handle the overflow, so to speak, with the County's aging and leaky Cedar Creek plant already operating at 70% capacity, and having quite a few problems of its own.

Nassau's sewer treatment and disposal facilities will have to be brought up to speed, and opertations will need to be streamlined and made more efficient if taxpayers in the existing sewer districts are to realize not only an improvement in service, but a gain in their wallets.

That said, consolidating these sewer districts is a good start. Hopefully, it is only the beginning!
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Suozzi Announces Sewer District Consolidation Agreements
4 Municipalities to Merge Sewage Treatment with County, Resulting in Tax Savings for Local Taxpayers

Mineola, NY – Nassau County Executive Thomas R. Suozzi today announced that four municipalities – the Villages of Cedarhurst and Lawrence and the Cities of Glen Cove and Long Beach – have agreed to consolidate their sewage treatment operations with the County’s Sewer and Storm Water Authority.

As part of the County Executive’s campaign to consolidate hundreds of overlapping municipal services operating within the County, a detailed study of sewage treatment found that a County-wide sewer system is technically feasible, and would provide savings to the taxpayers and be better for the environment than the current set-up.

“Consolidation only makes sense if it saves taxpayers money,” Suozzi said. “If these sewer operations were maintained by the localities, the villages and cities would have to spend millions of dollars to upgrade their facilities, causing their sewer rates to rise. These agreements avoid those future costs.”

The agreements with each of the four districts stipulate that no one will lose his or her job as part of the mergers. The County continues to work with the remaining sewer districts and municipalities, advising them on the benefits of consolidation, as found in the study. (The study was conducted by the county in consultation with the engineering firms Malcolm Pirnie, Inc. and Dvirka & Bartilucci.)

The Nassau County Sewer and Storm Water Authority currently treats 85% of the county’s sewage. These agreements will result in that number rising to 93%.

Each of the four agreements has been separately negotiated. The four contracts will be finalized over the next 60 days and be brought before the Nassau County Legislature and the two village boards and two city councils for final agreement. While each agreement is different, all of them will result in savings for local taxpayers. Three of the four sewage treatment plants will be decommissioned and replaced with a pump station. The recently-upgraded Glen Cove plant, with over 2.5 million gallons per day in excess capacity, will be used to serve sewer communities in the North Shore that are currently served by cesspools.

1 comment:

  1. "There could be no better place to shake up the status quo and to begin to untangle the special district log jam than at the sewer districts,"

    Well, actually, all of these systems being merged are municipal sewer systems, not special districts. And if my guess is correct, they are all old and in need of serious overhaul. Which the county will pay for eventually. So I see this as another political move of some sort with the county taxpayer footing the bill.