North and Central Merrick Civic Association
Claudia Borecky, President          516-972-6988            claudiaborecky@gmail.com

Sewage Treatment Plants
March, 2015
  1. Hurricane Sandy Sewage and Wastewater Treatment Advisory Committee – Ms. Borecky has a seat on the County’s Sewage Treatment Advisory Committee, which meets to assure the progress of the proposed projects and improvements to the County’s sewage treatment plants.  No meeting has taken place in over six months.  In the interim, United Water has taken over the operation and management of the county’s sewage treatment plants, which treats 85% of the county’s sewage.  United Water holds small meetings in Seaford and East Rockaway with residents in those areas.

 

  1. LNG Port Ambrose Port – President Borecky, a long-time advocate for the health of our waterways and a nine-year active participant in the No LNG Coalition, continues to speak out against the proposal to build a liquefied natural gas port off our south shores.  The Draft Environmental Impact Study was released a couple weeks before the end of 2014 at a time when people were occupied with the holidays.  It held its only New York hearing in Queens, miles away from the Long Beach barrier island, which would be greatly impacted by the Port Ambrose LNG terminal.

 

Ms. Borecky asked for more time for public comment so that we could fully absorb the voluminous report.  

 

The public comment period ends March 16,  2015.  Please visit the website to submit your comment online.  Two years ago, when the port was first proposed, over 25,000 people commented against the LNG proposal.  Only 17 comments were in favor of it.  However, now an organized effort is being made in favor of the LNG facility.  Governor Cuomo can veto this project.  If thousands of people voice their opposition to this project, it may convince the Governor to veto this project.



SEPTEMBER 20, 2012 UPDATE ON
SEWAGE PRIVATIZATION -
On May 17, 2012, NIFA member Leonard Steinman said, “The sewer deal is dead.” Yet on June 18, 2012, County Executive Mangano sent out requests, seeking an investor of Nassau County’s sewage treatment system.  It is being advertised as a “potentially high –revenue-generating infrastructure asset.”  Morgan Stanley claims our sewer system is capable of earning as much as $120 million annually. This is the first piece of honest information that I’ve seen about this proposal yet.  Our sewer system is not going bankrupt. Who would invest in a bankrupt system? 

The Nassau County Sewer and Storm Water Authority, up until a few years ago, operated with a $10 million annual surplus. The sewer district’s expenses run approximately $140 million annually.  It only takes in $117 million from our sewer taxes – so Mangano has been claiming that we are operating in a deficit.  However, there is over $20 million additional revenue coming into the sewer district from other sources, such as sewage from Suffolk.  Further, there are millions of dollars in reserves that apparently the County Executive has been withdrawing annually to help bridge the County’s budget gap, while creating the illusion of a gap in the sewer district. The Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA) has asked the State Comptroller for a forensic audit of our sewage district.  Our sewage treatment system truly IS a high-revenue-generating infrastructure and that is why it is so attractive to an investor. 

 THE OPERATOR: United Water is the chosen operator of the plants.  It is a global company, with expertise that may be able to  operate our plants more efficiently than the county.  This administration pays out over $20 million a year to outside contractors to do the work that county workers used to do.  United Water would become the overall contractor so they would save $20 million right off the bat.  However, we have concerns over entering into a contract with a private operator for 20 years. 

 President Claudia Borecky has been meeting with United Water representatives to discuss environmental issues.  United Water assured her that it would respect Nassau’s ban on accepting wastewater from hydrofracking.  It also stated that it would not build a pelletization plant at the County sites.  However, some serious concerns remain.

 1.  We believe that a 20-year contract is too long. We will lose our ability to protect residents from unforeseen dangers.  Even as short as five years ago, hydrofracking was unheard of.  What unforeseen environmental threats may the future bring?  United Water confirmed that once the County’s contract is up with the company that trucks the sludge from the plants, United Water will have complete authority to choose how they will dispose of the sludge, so long as it is the same price or less expensive than the County’s current contracts.  If a greener or less expensive process becomes available, we would like input in those decisions.

 2. County Executive Mangano refused to fund capital improvements that were not only mandated in the Capital Plan, but were requested by the plant’s private management firms - Cameron Engineering and Dvorka & Bartelucci.  Why would we assume that Mangano would fund improvements under the management and operation of United Water?  Hiring an outside contractor to operate the Bay Park and Cedar Creek plants will not solve the problem if the administration refuses to make the capital improvements.  If this administration won’t spend the money that the current private management companies recommend, why would this administration spend the money that United Water may recommend?  We believe that an oversight committee is necessary to assure that the sewage treatment plants are properly maintained and upgraded.

 3.  Our tax dollars will be paying the salaries of the sewer workers, whether they are private workers or county workers.  United Water will interview the county workers and choose workers to stay on.  The others will be moved to other county departments and remain on the county payroll.  I fail to see how this will save the County money.  And although United Water told us that they will severely cut staff, their employees will be paid substantially more money.

 4.  The County will lose access to the plants and use of the property.  We will lose control of the daily operations of the plants and the ability to check the in-house testing that will now be done by United Water.  United Water has been accused of tampering with testing results for the E-Coli virus.  Further, public access to the Lufbery Aerodrome, a field on Cedar Creek’s Sewer District property that radio-controlled aircraft hobbyists are allowed to fly their planes overhead, may now be in question. 

 5.  The complaints of the sewer districts continue to be that they are understaffed.  Yet, we will be paying United Water approximately $80 million to operate the plants and giving them a 3% raise per year – or $2.4 million and up every year. County workers’ salaries have been frozen and furloughed for years.  A county sewer worker starts at less than $27,000 per year.  With benefits, he/she may make another $13,000.  With overtime, he/she may make another $5,000 – totaling  $45,000 that our sewer tax dollars are being spent for each new hire.  That 2.4 million is enough to hire 53 new workers PER YEAR for 20 years instead of going into the pockets of stockholders and CEOs that do not live in Nassau County.  In this economy, could we afford to outsource our tax dollars to a parent company in France?  This is unacceptable. 

 6.  Our sewer taxes haven’t risen in 10 years.  Our governor set a cap of 2% on the amount our sewer tax may go up and yet United Water will be getting 3% increases?  Where’s the extra 1% coming from?  

 THE INVESTOR: In the original plan, the County sought $750 from an investor to fill a budget gap for 2012 and 2013 that we would be paying off for the next 50 years.  The Legislative Majority approved it in this year’s budget.  This was called the biggest one-shot in New York’s history.  So then the plan changed to seek $750 million to pay off low-interest municipal bonds --the Sewer Authority’s debt of $450 million and about $300 million of county-wide debt. Not one penny was ever earmarked for operating, maintaining or improving the plants.  That is why NIFA rejected Mangano’s proposal, saying that the plan does not reduce debt, but passes the responsibility of the payment of $750 million debt from the County to the taxpayer. Our taxes will go up.  In fact, it will be written into the contact that our taxes will go up every year and it would eventually be a separate sewer bill, based on our water usage.  We, who have Aqua Water, know what it is like to pay a utility bill to a private monopoly.

 "It's backdoor borrowing," said NIFA member George Marlin.  "It's not a public-private partnership," said NIFA member Chris Wright. "It's a loan." "To use such costly funds to pay down low-interest, tax-exempt county and sewer debt makes no sense," Marlin said. "This would be like drawing down the credit line on one's Visa card at 15 percent interest per year to pay down one's home mortgage, which has a 4 percent annual interest rate."

 UPDATE:  The County does not seem to be actively seeking an investor at this time. Perhaps, they are waiting for new NIFA appointments who will somehow find some logic in this deal.  United Water may still be in the picture as the manager and operator of the Cedar Creek and Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plants.  United Water is expecting to receive payment of between $60 million and $90 million per year with annual COLA increases.  United Water claims it will need $68 million in additional funds over the next three years to bring the sewage treatment plants up to par. Our contention is that if United Water could seriously improve our plants in three years, then let’s award them a contract for five years and if they meet their promises, we could extend their contract for another five years.  And we don’t want to see 3% increases in their contract.

 THE SOLUTION: No one denies that the sewage treatment plants have problems. Upper management neglects overseeing operations at the plants. County expenses on outside contractors have ballooned to historically high levels—more than $22 million – 4x more than the past administration to do the work that county employees used to do. Experienced sewer workers are being transferred to other county departments, leaving no one to manage and train new hires. Preventive maintenance has been almost non-existent for years at the Bay Park and Cedar Creek Plants. The County is behind schedule in implementing the necessary improvements. The current administration has not allocated one penny in a capital plan to improve the plants.

 We are developing a Blue Ribbon Plan to improve the condition and operation of the plants. It’s time to implement the badly needed improvements instead of looking at our plants as the cash cow for the County’s fiscal woes.  The future of our sewage treatment plants will depend on public oversight and a structure in place with public oversight.

 
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


SEWAGE USAGE FEES

 

 

As we had suspected, Nassau County intends to charge us a separate sewer bill that will be based on our water usage.  Residents who have sprinkler systems and pools whose water never makes it into the sewage system will be paying their sewer bills based on water usage.  Plus, we could only imagine how many surcharges and taxes we will have to pay on top of that.  Plus, we will still have a sewage tax that will go up 3% ever year.
 
This is nothing more than a back-door sewage tax hike - as we've been claiming all along.  We are considering a citizens referendum that would require Nassau County to put it to a public vote any time it is considering selling or leasing our sewage treatment plants or any county utility, parks or infrastructure.
 
Please take the above poll as to whether you believe the people should have a voice in what Nassau County does with our assets.  
Newsday Article:
Sewer plan has usage-based fee, surcharge ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Originally published: July 2, 2012 11:37 PM
Updated: July 3, 2012 12:29 AM
By ROBERT BRODSKY  robert.brodsky@newsday.com

 

Photo credit: Newsday/Jessica Rotkiewicz | -Cedar Creek (May 9, 2012)
Photo credit: Newsday/Jessica Rotkiewicz | The boiler room of the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh. (May 9, 2012)

 

Nassau County residents and businesses for the first time would pay for sewer service based in part on how much water they use, instead of solely on property values, under a plan by county officials.

 

Property owners also could be subject to a "surcharge" for unexpected capital

expenditures if a $750 million proposal to privatize the county sewer system becomes reality.

 

Nassau is seeking a private investor to fund the privatization, in which an outside operator would run its three sewage treatment plants and 3,000 miles of sewers. County officials disclosed the proposed changes in the rate structure and capital responsibilities in a formal solicitation to investors and in interviews.

 

Deputy County Executive Rob Walker said the bulk of sewer bills still would be determined by the assessment, and that sewer bills wouldn't increase. He said the capital surcharge would be invoked only for repairs following extraordinary events such as natural disasters.

 

Plan to charge nonprofits

The county is adding a usage-based system as part of an effort to begin charging nonprofit users, including hospitals and universities, for use of the sewage treatment system. The county can neither tax nonprofits nor charge them differently than other customers. So officials want usage-based billing to apply to everyone who uses the treatment system.

 

But critics of the sewer system transfer say the measures will leave property owners vulnerable to increased fees.

 

"The more we learn about this deal, the more we learn how bad it is for Nassau consumers," said Sam Bernhardt, Long Island organizer for Food and Water Watch, a watchdog group opposed to sewer privatizations. "This is a deal to attract an investor and not to protect consumers."

 

Brian Nevin, spokesman for County Executive Edward Mangano, said outreach to investors is part of a fact-finding process.

 

"The terms . . . are not binding on the county," he said. "The final terms will incorporate comments from our residents and environmental advocates and will be reflected in a . . . [request for proposal] that will be available to the public."

 

For decades, Nassau has charged residents and businesses for sewage treatment based on assessed property value. The average homeowner pays about $225 on the property tax bill for sewage, county officials said.

 

Tax-exempt nonprofit entities do not pay sewage disposal fees, costing the county millions of dollars a year. In October 2010, the county legislature approved a 1-cent-per-gallon sewage tax on nonprofits. Hofstra University, Catholic Hospital Services of Long Island and other nonprofits won a temporary restraining order against the county. The case is now before a state appeals court.

 

County officials have said that, if successful in court, Nassau will charge nonprofits based on their water use. But administration officials say they cannot legally employ a two-tiered system -- one in which homeowners and businesses pay for sewage based on the value of their properties, and nonprofits pay based on usage.

 

Hybrid approach

Mangano wants to adopt a hybrid approach in which a portion of the sewage tax comes from assessments and the remainder from sewer usage, Walker said. "Residents would see no difference in their bills," he said.

 

But Legis. Dave Denenberg (D-Merrick), whose district includes the county's Cedar Creek sewage treatment plant, pointed to language in the pitch to investors that he says shows Nassau is planning to abandon the assessment-based system for one that relies solely on user fees. According to the document, Nassau is "considering moving from levying an ad valorem tax [assessment] on taxable properties. . . to imposing user charges on all such properties."

 

That move, Denenberg said, "will be an astronomical cost increase. They are taking a normal, tax deductible sewer tax and replacing it with an ever-increasing, non-deductible water rate for using the sewers."

 

Some business owners who will pay the hybrid sewage bill endorsed the change.

"This plan seeks to bring a strategy of rational usage fees to a system that has long defied logic," said Garden City real estate developer Michael Polimeni.

 

Harry Tyson, who once advised Suffolk County on the creation of the Southwest Sewer District, said the proposed Nassau system "could potentially work." But Tyson, president of Municipal Asset Providers, a New Jersey-based financial advisory firm, said the county likely will run into legal challenges from nonprofits that will argue the charges amount to a tax.

 

Attorneys for Hofstra and Catholic Hospital Services declined to comment.

 

Fee vs. tax

County Attorney John Ciampoli said sewer charges must be viewed as fees rather than taxes if they are to survive legal challenges. "The goal is to try and find a system that treats everyone equally," he said.

Suffolk charges its sewer district ratepayers based only on property values, officials said.

Mangano wants to privatize Nassau's vast sewer system, including its plants, sewers and 53 pumping stations. He has selected a private operator, New Jersey-based United Water, to manage the system.

 

The plan was dealt a setback in May when the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board that controls the county's finances, rejected a contract to pay Morgan Stanley, the county's financial adviser on the deal, $5 million to manage the sewer transaction.

 

While NIFA officials continue to oppose the privatization, Nassau last month issued a Request for Information to determine if private sector investors are interested. Responses are due by July 11. The county plans to use the "bulk of the proceeds" from the privatization for debt retirement and reserves, according to a recent Fitch Ratings report.

 

County officials last week attempted to distance themselves from the solicitation, arguing it was written by Morgan Stanley. The document, however, bears the county's seal and Mangano's name appears on the front page. Morgan Stanley declined to comment.

 

In the section discussing emergency capital improvements, the request says, "unexpected, imperative capital expenditures" would be paid by the investor.

In return, the investor "would be contractually allowed to charge a surcharge to customers to allow for an adequate regulated return similar to other regulated utilities in the state of New York."

 

Walker said the reference is to "catastrophic" events such as hurricanes, not machinery or facility repairs.

 

Denenberg said the clause could be abused. "Taxpayers will pay a lot more than they did before," he said.

 

With Paul LaRocco

 

Sewer deal

 Nassau County last week disclosed new details about its plan to privatize its sewer system in a Request for Information to private sector investors:

    

 

  • The county plans to move to a fee system based partially on water usage, rather than exclusively on tax assessments.
  •  

     

     A private investor would be able to charge residents a surcharge for "unexpected" capital improvements.

     

     

     

  • The investor would sign a 50-year lease with the county and have exclusive rights to collect revenues from the system.
  •  

     

     Sewer/rates/taxes would be frozen through 2015 and then increase by the annual rate of inflation, which the proposal estimates to be 3 percent.

       

     

  • United Water, a New Jersey-based company that would operate the system, would earn a base fee of $60 million in the first year, 2013, with estimated increases of 3 percent a year thereafter. Company spokesman Rich Henning said the increases would cover escalating costs of labor and chemicals. 
  •  

     

     ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    COUNTY SEEKS INVESTOR FOR SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS

    COUNTY SEEKS INVESTOR FOR SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS

    Mangano Seeks Investor for the Sewage Treatment Plants ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    One month after NIFA rejected the County's contract with financial advisor Morgan Stanley to put together a deal to privatize the County's sewage treatment plants, County Executive Edward Mangano moves forward with the County's proposal to privatize our sewage treatment system by seeking an investor. Read the Newsday Article:
    Nassau County has restarted efforts to privatize its sewer system, a month after a state control board rejected a contract that is critical to closing the deal.

    Morgan Stanley, the county's financial adviser on the sewer deal, issued a request for information on June 18 seeking a private sector investor to fund the sewer system transaction.

    The document asks financiers to formally declare their interest in the deal and to offer a dollar amount they would be willing to invest, county officials said. The deadline for responses is July 11.

    County Executive Edward Mangano has said Nassau would receive a payment of at least $750 million that would go toward paying down the county's $3 billion debt.

    Deputy County Executive Tim Sullivan characterized the RFI as a "fact finding" effort.

    "We want to see what kind of appetite there is for this type of transaction and what the market will bear," Sullivan said. "We are not procuring services and there is nothing binding us to a deal. We want to see what happens and then proceed from there."

    Last month, the Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state monitoring board in control of the county's finances, voted down a contract that would pay Morgan Stanley $5 million to manage the transaction. NIFA board members called the deal "backdoor borrowing" and said a financier would likely be unable to turn a profit under the county's model.

    County Attorney John Ciampoli said the RFI would "put some flesh on the skeleton" of the deal. Morgan Stanley, which declined to comment on the RFI, is still being paid from a $24,750 contract approved by the legislature last year, Ciampoli said.

    But, NIFA member George Marlin, a critic of the deal, said Nassau was wasting its time.

    "Last year, the county avoided dealing with its fiscal crisis by pursuing the far-fetched [Nassau] Coliseum ballot initiative," he said referring to the Aug. 1 vote asking voters to borrow up to $400 million for a new arena. "It is my hope they do not squander this summer . . . and instead direct their time and energy to the financial operating crisis they're facing in the next couple of months."

    Mangano's plan calls for New Jersey-based United Water to manage and operate the Bay Park and Cedar Creek plants, 53 sewage pumping stations and 3,000 miles of sewers.

    A private investment group would sign a 50-year lease with Nassau, providing the county with the $750 million to fund the transaction plus at least $300 million for capital improvements to the plants over the next decade.

    Mangano said those funds would be repaid to the investor through system efficiencies instituted by United Water and from sewer fees paid by taxpayers. Mangano pledged to freeze sewer rates through 2015 and then cap them at the inflation rate for the life of the contract.

    A Morgan Stanley official familiar with the deal said last month their model assumes that ratepayers would pay an increase of 3 percent annually for the next 50 years. The model also assumes plant improvements would reduce operating expenses by 30 percent, and that additional revenue would come from tax benefits and population growth.###
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    As you know, the County chose United Water to operate Cedar Creek and Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plants.  Posted below is the RFI that the County put out seeking the second part of the deal - the investor:

     

    Copyright 2012 PEI
    All Rights Reserved

    Infrastructure Investor

    June 19, 2012

     RFI out for Nassau wastewater investor

     LENGTH: 269 words

     HIGHLIGHT: The Long Island, New York county engaged a wastewater management operator and is now looking for a private investor for its one-million-user system. A deadline for the RFI is set for July 11.

    Nassau County, New York is counting on Morgan Stanley as well as recently appointed operator United Water to find a private investor for its sewer system - a potentially high-revenue-generating infrastructure asset.

    The wastewater management apparatus is used by a community of one million, according to Morgan Stanley, who the county in 2011 retained as its adviser. Wall Street firm Morgan has pegged the Nassau system as capable of earning as much as $120 million annually.

     As adviser, Morgan Monday confirmed a request for information (RFI) had been issued for a private investor. The deadline to respond to the mandate is Wednesday, July 11, according to the RFI.

    Meanwhile, United Water, the Harrington Park, New Jersey, company that Nassau in May contracted, "would be the operator each investor would be assuming as part of a  potential P3 [public-private partnership] of the system".

    A draft of the would-be concession agreement included in the RFI cited a 50-year lease, while the eventual investor would be on the hook for a $60 million base fee to United Water, the document read.

    The RFI went on to repeat the oft-cited description of the system as a "local monopoly".

    Nassau County was established in 1899. Its sewer system consolidated in 2003. The county hired United Water, which is owned by Suez Environment, after a request for proposals (RFP) campaign. United Water is the second largest US water operator behind Veolia Water.

    At Morgan Stanley, the RFI search is being headed by Perry Offutt, a managing director with the financial services provider who led Akron, Ohio, in a water privatisation effort.

      

    LOAD-DATE: June 19, 2012

    LANGUAGE: ENGLISH

     PUBLICATION-TYPE: Magazine

    Claudia Borecky Viewpoint
    May 28, 2012
     
    Privatization of our Sewage Treatment Plants
     
    I would like to thank NIFA for having the courage and integrity to reject the County Executive’s plan to mortgage our children’s future by privatizing the County’s sewage treatment system.  “We the People Save Our Waters Coalition”, which has been giving presentations throughout Nassau County, see this as a back-door sewer tax hike and refinancing scheme to essentially pay off low-interest municipal bonds by increasing our sewer taxes every year for the next 50 years.  It is unconscionable that this plan to privatize our sewer treatment plants is not reducing debt, but passing the responsibility of the payment of $750 million debt from the County to the already over-burdened taxpayer. 

    Although NIFA rejected the $5 million contract with Morgan Stanley, NIFA claims that they will not approve the County’s ultimate sewage privatization deal with the United Water and the yet unknown investor.
    George Marlin reiterated our contention that “this would be like drawing down the credit line on one’s Visa card at 15% percent interest per year to pay down one’s home mortgage, which as a 4% annual interest rate.”  NIFA member Leonard Steinman said outright, “The sewer deal is dead.”  However, the County Executive is still moving forward with the deal, claiming that “The County has a legal opinion that the transaction is not a borrowing.”  So whether it is over is yet to be seen.
     
    BOTTOM LINE, This Deal would have caused our taxes to skyrocket!
    The County Executive claims that our taxes will be capped at the rate of consumer price index (CPI).  What he is not saying is that the CPI in the sewage treatment industry goes up between 6.5-7.5% per year.  By those calculations, our sewer taxes would double in ten years.  So now, it begins to make sense on how these private companies will make money – on the backs of the taxpayers.
     
    The County Executive’s Debt Refinancing Plan:
     
    This plan is more like a refinancing plan.  This $750 million investment is a lump sum payment by the investor to pay off $465 million of sewer district debt and $285 million of county-wide debt.  Not one penny is going toward operating, maintaining or improving the plants.  Bids had not gone out yet to find the investor.  The yet unknown investor will then use the sewer revenue to pay United Water a fee for operating Bay Park, Cedar Creek and Glen Cove.  United Water would not be giving us one penny, as we would be paying them to operate the plants and implement improvements as needed. 
     
    The County touts a promise to put about $400 million in new equipment and improvements into the Cedar Creek and Bay Park plants.  This $400 million is the amount that remains unused out of the $700 million 5-year Capital Plan that was approved by the past administration. Former County Executive Suozzi already spent about $160 million in 2008 and 2009.  County Executive Mangano spent $70 million in the past two years. Funds were just bonded to pay for $35 million of improvements, leaving approximately $430 of still unused funds to date.  What the County is planning to do is take that $430 million and indirectly, through an investor, pay United Water to implement those improvements within 10 years (instead of the 5-year plan) and we will be paying the investor for these improvements for the next 50 years through increased sewer rates. 
     
    The Real Deal.  The operator is chosen, but the second part of this deal is to find an investor.  Requests for proposals have not gone out yet, however, the County hoped to contract with an investor by the end of this summer.  This investor is expected to give us $750 to refinance county debt. The plan is to not only refinance the Nassau County Sewer and Storm water Authority’s debt of $465 million, but also about $300 million of the County’s $3 billion debt as well. 
     
    The County likes to compare its $3 billion debt with Suffolk’s $1.4 billion debt.  Nassau’s debt has traditionally been double that of Suffolk’s for one main reason.  Half of Nassau’s debt is from money borrowed to pay property tax refunds.  The townships in Suffolk assess their residents, not the County, so it does not pay out refunds.  Therefore, it is logical that its debt would be half that of Nassau’s. 
     
    So, let’s talk about what we do know…
     
    The Sewer Authority, which has title to the plants, up until a few years ago, operated with a $10 million annual surplus.  So why is it running at a deficit today?  Legislator Denenberg went through the financials of the sewer district and discovered the truth.  It costs approximately $160 million annually to operate the plants.  It takes in $117 million from our sewer taxes – so the County claims that we are operating in a deficit.  However, what the County Executive intentionally fails to mention is that there is over $40 million revenue coming into the sewer district from other sources.  Apparently, the sewer district is operating in the black now and is projected to run in the black in the future.  Even more disturbing is that it appears that the County Executive withdrew approximately $37 million out of the profitable sewer district account to presumably fill the budget gap for the entire county.  Could it be that Mr. Mangano withdrew funds to intentionally create the illusion of a deficit in the sewer district so that he could sell to the public this privatization scheme?  Could it be that the sewer district is NOT going bankrupt?  Could it be that the County Executive’s scaring us that he would otherwise have to raise our sewer taxes by 22% is based on books that were fixed to create the illusion of a deficit? 
     
    I hope that I am wrong in the above contentions.  But in the least, we believe that there needs to be a forensic audit of the sewer district. 
     
    United Water’s Track Record
     
    United Water Services is touting its successes, but does not mention that it is currently facing felony charges for violating the Clean Water Act and conspiring to defraud the federal government by misrepresenting the way it complies with wastewater treatment standards. (Food & Water Watch, May 3, 2012).  It was found dangerously cutting corners to cut costs, such as tampering with E-coli levels and shutting down pumps and intentionally dumping 100 million gallons of sewage.  Poor performance due to dramatic staff cuts, submitting bills for work it didn’t do, neglecting to make adequate and timely repairs and contributing to environmental disasters are just a few of the complaints made about United Water by governments throughout the country that have led them to cancel their contracts with United Water.
     
    No one denies that the sewage treatment plants have problems. Upper management neglects overseeing operations at the plants. Millions of dollars are awarded to outside contractors to do the work that county workers used to do.  Experienced sewer workers are being transferred to other county departments to save them from anticipated United Water’s cuts, leaving no one to manage and train employees. Preventive maintenance has been non-existent for years at the Bay Park and Cedar Creek Plants. Mangano is behind schedule in only doing $70 million out of the $500 million slated for improvements – funds which were approved by the Legislative Majority of the past administration.  The current administration has not allocated one penny in a capital plan to improve the plants.
     
    Directly or indirectly, it will be our tax dollars financing United Water’s parent company in France.  Public dollars should not compensate foreign entrepreneurs or their employees.
     
    ·         Why refinance the county’s bonds at 1-4% interest and incur NEW DEBT at higher interest rate
     
    The Legislature will vote on these contracts.  But we have been kept in the dark.  The Legislative Majority has not held any hearings on this deal.  The Morgan Stanley contract has been kept secret for years and voted on without a public hearing.
     
    A Public Relations Campaign was launched to sell this deal.  We, who are speaking up for the people of Nassau County, do not have the kind of money that would be needed to counter this campaign.
     
    I am hopeful that this deal truly is dead.  But as Mr. Mangano says “Doing Nothing is Not an Option.”  We the People Save Our Waters have a Blue Ribbon Plan to improve the condition and operation of the plants.  Maybe now, the County Executive will look toward implementing the badly needed improvements to the plants, instead of looking at our plants as the cash cow for the County’s fiscal woes.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    April 2012
    UPDATE
     

    This Deal will Incur New Debt at Historic Proportions
     
    To accurately assess the County's plan to refinance its debt is premature in that we cannot assume the amount of debt and terms of repayment until a financier is sought and found. But the County did make the first step in this debt refinancing scheme in choosing United Water to operate the Bay Park and Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plants. All we know for sure is that in order for United Water to make a profit, the County agreed to increase our sewer rates every single year for at least the next 20 years. We'll begin to see our sewer taxes increase one year after the next election for county executive. These rate hikes will be built into the County's contract with United Water and are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
     
    The truth is that if the County had levied CPI increases over the past five years, our sewer budget would have $100 million in reserves by now. The only difference would be that instead of our public dollars staying local, our public dollars will now go to a foreign corporation.
     
    The County Executive's Debt Refinancing Plan:
     
    On May 3, the County Executive held a press conference, touting an historic debt reduction plan. The County Executive chose United Water, a subsidiary of the French corporation Suez Environnement, to operate the Cedar Creek and Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plants. Severn Trent will continue to operate the Glen Cove Plant until its lease is up in eight years. The County is passing the key over to United Water to do the work that the County no longer wants to be responsible for. However, hiring United Water to operate the plants will not reduce the County's debt in any way whatsoever. In fact, we will have to pay United Water through our sewer bills. United Water is not giving the County one penny.
     
    There are two parts to this deal. The plan to refinance the county's debt is hypothetical at this point - based on a yet unknown Financier. Requests for proposals to find the Financier have not gone out yet, however, the County does hope to contract with a Financier by the end of this summer. This Financier is expected to give us between $750 and $1 billion to refinance the county debt with the hopes of getting NIFA off its back. Plans changed in that the County is now, not only refinancing the Nassau County Sewer and Storm water Authority's debt of $465 million, but also about $300 million of the County's $3 billion debt as well. That explains the County Executive's fetish with borrowing lately. This deal is the County's "magic bullet" to refinance its ever-growing debt.
     
    The County likes to compare its $3 billion debt with Suffolk's $1.4 billion debt. Nassau's debt has traditionally been double that of Suffolk's for one main reason. Half of Nassau's debt is from money borrowed to pay property tax refunds. The townships in Suffolk assess their residents and therefore, pay the tax refunds and not the County.  So logically, Suffolk County's debt would be half that of Nassau's.
     
    This New Deal plans to refinance its current low-interest debt with high interest payments by increasing our taxes every year, essentially providing profits to both a private operator and a financier above and beyond what our sewer taxes are currently paying to operate the plants. Since there is no Financier and thus, no terms, we can only speculate that the County Executive's plan will be incurring new debt at historic proportions.
     
    So, let's talk about what we do know...
     
    The Sewer Authority, up until a few years ago, operated with a $10 million annual surplus. The County now hires outside contractors for millions of dollars to do the work that county employees used to do. This is similar to this administration's awarding millions of dollars to private law firms to do the work that the County Attorney's office used to do. This baby step toward privatization took a sewer system that was operating at a surplus and turned it into a system that is now operating in the red. It is spending down its reserves, which is expected to run out in 2014. Although I've been told that if let be, it will begin to again make a profit in 2015.
     
    The County plans to hire United Water, which is a subsidiary of the French corporation Suez Environnement. To save money, United Water will likely terminate all private contractors that work at the plants. It is our contention that if the County terminated these outside contractors, our sewer district would once again be making a profit and there would be no need to seek a private operator.
     
    Right now our tax dollars pay the sewer workers. With United Water, our tax dollars will still be paying the same sewer workers, but in order for the French-owned United Water to make a profit, the County will charge us rate increases annually for the next 20-30 years. Essentially, a French corporation will be picking our pockets and sending our hard-earned money over to France.
     
    United Water Services is touting its successes, but fails to mention that it is currently
    facing felony charges for violating the Clean Water Act and conspiring to defraud the federal government by misrepresenting the way it complies with wastewater treatment standards. (Food & Water Watch, May 3, 2012).   UWUA National Vice President John Duffy claims "United Water stands accused of tampering with E. coli monitoring reports over a five year period - for wastewater discharges into a major urban area - merely to boost its profits."
     
    Poor performance due to dramatic staff cuts, submitting bills for work it didn't do, neglecting to make adequate and timely repairs and contributing to environmental disasters are just a few of the complaints made about United Water by governments throughout the country that cancelled their contracts with United Water.  So why is the County
    even considering hiring  United Water? United Water claims it will purchase in bulk, implement energy savings initiatives and make improvements. Our question is: Why privatize? Wouldn't it be prudent if the County did exactly that and right now?
     
    No one denies that the sewage treatment plants have problems. We contend that problems exist because of several reasons:

     

    • The County's commissioner, supervisors and upper management neglect the plants and fail to oversee operations.
    • The County awards millions of dollars to outside contractors to do the work that county workers used to do
    • New hires have no management to train them because the County transferred experienced sewer workers to other county departments to save them from anticipated United Water's cuts.
    • Preventive maintenance has been non-existent for years at the Bay Park and Cedar Creek Plants.
    • The County Executive is years behind schedule in only doing $70 million out of the $220 million earmarked for improvements to date - funds which were approved by the Legislative Majority of the past administration.
    • The current administration has not allocated one penny in a capital plan to improve the plants.

     

     

     

     

     MANGANO MATH JUST DOESN'T ADD UP
     
    The County Executive touts this as a debt reduction plan. The reality is that this deal will incur NEW DEBT at historic proportions. This $750 million is refinanced debt -similar to refinancing a home mortgage. Equally
    important, our increased sewer bills will be funding United Water to operate the plants, install brand new equipment, and make a profit. But, even if United Water effectuates all this without cutting any County workers or raising our sewage fees, where's the money going to come from to pay off the $750 million refinance? If not from your pocket, then from whose? Mangano Math just doesn't add up.

      
    For the County to refinance its debt in a way that will hold its citizenry hostage under monopoly conditions by a conglomerate that needs to pay foreign stockholders with our tax dollars is unconscionable. Directly or indirectly, it will be our tax dollars financing United Water's parent company in France. Simply, public dollars should not compensate foreign entrepreneurs or their employees. Again, the Mangano Math just doesn't add up.
     

    Why refinance the county's bonds at 1-4% interest to incur NEW DEBT at more than twice the interest rate?   

    Why should we want to lose our ability to leverage our assets to borrow for any future improvements?

    Bottom line, refinancing the County's debt will cause our taxes to skyrocket.
     
    The Nassau County Coalition of Civic Association ("NCCCA"") was formed to present one united voice on this issue. This is a non-partisan issue. The Legislature will vote on these contracts. But action has been taken to silence anyone who contradicts its message or casts a negative shadow on this deal.
     
    The Legislative Majority has not had any hearings on this deal. The Morgan Stanley contract has been kept secret for years and voted on without a public hearing. A Public Relations Campaign is being launched to sell this deal. And there is no doubt that the money they will spend on advertising will prevent some media outlets from covering any opposition because they will not want to bite the hands that feed them. And we, who are speaking up for the people of Nassau County, do not have the kind of money that would be needed to counter a half-million dollar ad campaign.

    And this is just the beginning. We need to move quickly and intelligently to conquer this privatization scheme. Any suggestions or offers to help are welcome and needed. Please call 972-6988 or email contact@nassaucoalition.org.
     
    Privatization of our Sewage Treatment Plants
    April 19, 20112 Update
    As last reported, due to the fact that the County did not go through the correct bidding process, NIFA rejected the County’s contract with Morgan Stanley to act as its financial advisor for $100,000 per quarter for five quarters beginning October 1, 2011.  That contract was not approved until December 19, 2011 – after having completed more than $125,000 worth of work.  When asked why didn’t Morgan Stanley sue?  I was told that companies like Morgan Stanley do work on speculation all the time.  I found it hard to believe that Morgan Stanley did the work for
    nothing.

    On February 24, 2012, bids went out again seeking a financial advisor and an attorney. Morgan Stanley again won the bid – only this time – instead of $100,000 per quarter – they were getting $200,000 per quarter.  I find it hard to believe that Morgan Stanley had the lowest responsible bid.  If I were another company looking for this contract, I would have bid for less money than Morgan Stanley’s original bid because I would figure that, in the end, I would get $5 million.  In my opinion, Morgan Stanley was again hired because now they could contract for more money so that they could get paid for the work they did in 2011.  

    A letter was sent to the Attorney General, State Comptroller and NIFA – asking for an investigation into the bidding process used to pick Morgan Stanley. In my opinion, the operator is already chosen and they’ve already been contracting with them.  I believe that they are waiting for the Morgan Stanley contract to be executed so that they can say that Morgan Stanley helped choose the company.

    On April 16, 2012 about ten people came down to the Nassau County Legislature to oppose this contract.  Everyone spoke eloquently and passionately about this issue.  However, the Rules Committee voted along party lines to pass it.  As it is a personal service contract, I am not sure if it will go to Full Legislature.

    On April 17, 2012 the newly formed Nassau Coalition of Civic Associations installed their first Board of Directors. NCMCA President Claudia Borecky was installed as the Executive Director for Region 6.  The Board is comprised of eight Directors, each elected by civic associations within their region to represent them on the Board.  The NCCCA resolved to seek full disclosure of the County’s proposal, including transparency and accountability at each step of the process, legislative hearings and having a seat on a citizens’ advisory committee so that we, as residents of the County and owners of the facilities, have a voice in that decision.

    Public oversight is a necessity to protect residents against a potential increase in costs to the taxpayers of Nassau County, loss of local control and the possibility of negatively impacting the health and safety of our families and our environment for generations to come. 


    NASSAU COUNTY WILL BE BANNING WASTEWATER FROM HYDROFRACKING
    ~~~~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
     
    I am writing to bring some great news to Nassau County residents.  Several civic members and concerned citizens have been visiting the County Legislature and urging hearings and meetings about privatization and pushing for the enactment of legislation to ban hydrofracking wastewater. We were very concerned  that the concept of  hydrofracking wastewater coming to our sewage treatment plants would have become a reality since the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation listed Bay Park, Cedar Creek and Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plants as possible recipients of wastewater from hydrofracking in New York State.  The likelihood of this occurring was exacerbated by the County's proposal to privatize our sewage treatment plants.  Since private companies cannot be prevented from making profits, if Nassau doesn't ban it, there would be no law in place that would prevent the private company from taking in the hydrofracking wastewater.
     
    We are very happy to report that Legislators Dave Denenberg and Delia DiRiggi-Whitton introduced legislation that was sponsored by the Democratic Legislators banning wastewater from hydrofracking at any of the county facilities. Attached is the Legislation Banning Hydrofracking Wastewater and Press Release.   And, Legislators Ford, Kopel and Dunne also announced that they too will be drafting similar legislation.  Attached is that Press Release as well.  County Executive Mangano has indicated that he will sign the legislation.
     
    That is great news!  Wastewater from hydrofracking contains hundreds of chemicals and radioactive material.  Since the hydrofracking companies are private, their privacy rights are protected and are not required to reveal the chemicals used in the process.  We are hoping to work with the legislators to ensure that this legislation, not only bans allowing wastewater into County facilities, but bans it from any facility, pipelines, roadways, rails, airports and waterways.  
     
    We the People Save our Waters Coalition and the Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations, of which the NCMCA is a member, continue to address the proposed privatization of our sewage treatment plant.  We, as Aqua customers, know what happens when a profit-driven private monopoly enters into a revenue-neutral public system.  Our sewer rates will skyrocket.
     
    If you'd like to help us address this issue, please call Claudia Borecky at 972-6988 or email contact@nassaucoalition.org.   Please  Sign the Petition to Stop the Privatization of our Sewage Treatment Plants.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    Claudia Borecky, President
    NCMCA

    MARCH 15, 2012 UPDATE ON COUNTY EXECUTIVE’S PLANS TO PRIVATIZE OUR SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANTS NIFA rejected the Morgan Stanley contract with Nassau County for $100,000 a quarter to broker a deal to sell or lease the Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plants.  That contract would have given Morgan Stanley a minimum of $5 million if a deal is made – whether it is a good deal or not.  Nevertheless, the County Executive is still moving forward with the plan to enter into a long-term lease with an operator and expects an investor to pay over $900 million to fill the 2012 and 2013 budget gaps.  The sale or long-term lease is part of the 2012 budget which was already approved by the Republican Legislature in October 2011.  Bids for operators went out and three operators were found qualified: United Water, Veolia and Severn Trent.  No choice has been made yet.  The County informed us that Morgan Stanley is no longer involved in this process.

    We, as Aqua customers, know what it’s like to pay high water rates for private water as compared to our neighbors who have public water.  A private investor is not going to pay $900,000 without expecting to reap huge profits.  In some municipalities that privatized their sewage system, people are paying $185 per month (we are now paying an average of  $185 per year). 

    We the People Save Our Waters Coalition and the Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA) are diligently working to halt long-term lease of our plants.  We developed an Action Plan and have divided into working committees to address the privatization of our sewage treatment plants.

    The NCCCA wrote NIFA and asked that they investigate the contract which hired Morgan Stanley to work for one quarter for $100,000 without receiving approval from the Legislature.  We have since learned that NIFA rejected that contract. The County is seeking a new financial advisor and counsel to broker a deal.

    On February 27, 2012, in the wake of the postponement of the Legislature's police precinct vote, about a dozen people interested citizens, including NCMCA members Mark and Helene Manas and me, rallied on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature to stop the sale or lease of the County's sewage treatment plants.  News12,Channel 10/55 and Newsday covered the rally.   At the Nassau Legislative meeting, we stood up, one by one, each representing different civic associations from all over Nassau County, and expressed our concerns regarding the County's plan to privatize our sewage treatment plants. We asked to meet with them.  We asked for hearings.

    Legislator Denise Ford agreed to hold hearings, the first of which will be in the spring.  Deputy County Executive Rob Walker agreed to meet with us to discuss this further.

     On March 6, 2012, we had our first meeting with Mr. Walker and a team of County officials to discuss the status of this venture.  We came away from that meeting with conflicting information.  The numbers didn't add up.  We are currently researching this matter further.  We do not want the County to balance the budget by writing increases in our sewer rates so that a private corporation can recoup its investment by taxing us, taking more sewage or wastewater from hydrofracking.

    RALLY TO STOP THE BACK-DOOR SEWER TAX

    The We the People Save Our Waters Coalition ("We the People") held its first rally on the front steps of the County Executive and Legislative Building in Mineola on Monday, February 27. Because of the cancellation of the vote by the Legislature to close the precincts, the expected crowd never materialized. So, about 10 people who had expected to be in the background of a much bigger movement, now stood alone with their protest signs and their pledge to stop the sale or lease of the County's three sewage treatment plants.

     

    We, the people, are being kept in the dark about this historic decision that will affect the people of Nassau County for generations to come. We the people need a voice in this decision. We are demanding a citizens' advisory committee.

     

    We are making headway. While we rallied outside, a private meeting was taking place inside with the Deputy County Executive and two Island Park civic members from the Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA). The County Executive agreed to meeting with a citizens' advisory group comprised of members of the "We the People Coalition" on a regular basis to discuss the County Executive's Plan to sell or lease our assets - the Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plants. We refuse to be left in the dark any longer.

     

    The real fireworks began when we went into the Legislative Chambers. We went up, one by one and explained how this one-time budget fix will impact our community forever. We explained that if you take a service that is operating in the black with $75 million in reserves and now introduce a private company into the equation, our taxes will go up. A company is not going to invest $1.3 billion without expecting to reap huge profits off our tax dollars. We, who pay our water bills to a private company, know how much more we pay for our water than do those who have public water. This deal will be nothing more than a back-door tax increase.

     

    Some legislators listened. Legislator Denise Ford agreed on the record to hold hearings within the next few weeks so that the people know about the County Executive's plan. It is very important that the people get a chance to voice their concerns. Although we heard the Presiding Officer say under his breath that there was only going to be one hearing, we are hopeful that Legislator Ford will keep to her promise and do the right thing for the people. Transparency in government is vital. People need to trust that these deals will not continue to go on behind closed doors and without public input.

     

    It is still an uphill battle. Morgan Stanley will not go quietly into this good night. They stand to make at least $5 million if a deal is made. Our tax dollars are already paying them over $500,000 to find a private investor and operator of our plants. Morgan Stanley will make money whether the deal is good or bad for the people of Nassau County. And if this deal is made, the County Executive will get enough money to fill this year's budget gap. But who's looking out for the people's best interest...

     

    We, the people, must have a voice. Right now, it is barely a whisper. But with the public hearings and a committee of citizens, we are getting louder.

     

    The NCMCA will be hosting a presentation of this proposal at our next civic association meeting on Thursday, March 15, 2012 at 7:00 at the North Merrick Library.  It is a presentation that we cannot afford to miss.

     

    For more information, visit our website at www.northmerrickcivic.org or      www.nassaucoalition.org or email contact@nassaucoalition.org

    County Executive Mangano’s Plan to Fix the County’s Budget

     

     

     

     

    With a Proposal to Sell or Lease the

    Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove Sewage Treatment Plants

     

    History of the Proposal

    • February 16, 2010 -  Mangano, in his second month in office, sent out Requests for Proposals (“RFPs”), seeking a financial firm to help with the purchase/lease of its sewage treatment plants (“STPs”).
    • March 2010 – Morgan Stanley was chosen.
    • August 31, 2011 -  Mangano hired Morgan Stanley for $24,750 (if it had been $25,000, it would have required legislative  approval) to review the STPs and examine Requests for Qualifications (“RFQs”) seeking qualified corporations to purchase or lease the Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove STPs.
    • November 4, 2011 – The County Comptroller approved the contract with the financial advisor Morgan Stanley to seek RFPs from three companies that met the qualifications to       purchase or lease the 3 STPs – namely Severn Trent, United Water and Veolia.  This was the first time that the Nassau County Legislature was made aware of this backroom deal.
    • December 19, 2011 – The Nassau County Legislature’s Rules Committee voted 4-3 along party lines to pay Morgan Stanley an advisory fee of $100,000 per quarter and a Transaction fee if a sale/lease is reached of 1% of the deal, but no less than $5 million.

     

     

    To Privatize or Not to Privatize

     

    County Executive Mangano commented in a LI Press article: In this case, we have the ability to protect the taxpayer, increase efficiencies and protect the environment.”

    In actuality, Nassau County will lose its ability “to protect the taxpayer.”  Selling or leasing our STPs is nothing more than another backdoor tax increase.

     

     

    • According to a 2007 survey, 52% of governments that had first privatized and then brought services back in-house reported that the primary reason was insufficient cost savings.

     

     

     

    • Nassau County’s 2012 operational budget for its STPs is balanced, having $74 million in reserves. 

     

     

     

    •  STPs were built for the public good and are revenue neutral.  Private companies are profit-driven.

     

     

     

    •  It is reasonable to assume that a corporation investing $1.3 billion will expect to reap substantial profits.  

     

     

     

    •  Corporations profit by raising our fees and/or taking in additional sewage from other municipalities.

     

     

     

    •  Nassau County residents pay approximately $185 per year in sewage taxes.  Municipalities whose STPs are privately owned could pay as much as $185 per month.

     

     

     

    • Aqua Water customers know firsthand that privatization costs more, as much as 3x more.   Aqua Water is reaping record profits off our dollars,  awarding its executives with salaries in the millions of dollars.

     

     

     

    • A monopoly having control of our STPs will mean having  no choice but to pay whatever they demand.

     

     

     

     

    Research has shown that the quality of service often declines when operated by a private system.

     

    Although faith in the private sector to outperform government agencies is ingrained in the American psyche, facts disproving that belief are steadily mounting.  Private companies seek to maximize profits, often by cutting corners to reduce costs.  This can greatly impair service quality and maintenance.   Several municipalities that brought functions back in-house reported this as their primary motivation.

     

    In 2010, Morgan Stanley, the very same company that the County just hired, fostered a deal for the City of Indianapolis to take back its water and wastewater facilities from Veolia at a cost of $1.9 billion.  A grand jury investigated accusations that Veolia was skimping on staffing, water testing, maintenance and chemicals. Veolia is one of the companies bidding for our STPs.  Do we really want a company with a  history of cutting corners and committing environmental violations to run  our sewage treatment plants?

     

    Nassau County will lose its ability “to protect the environment.”

     

    • The profit motive that drives a company to cut corners and to defer maintenance can also lead to  environmental problems, even disasters.
    • Private corporations have privacy protection.  They are not required to reveal their reports to the public and are not subject to Freedom of Information Requests. 
    • NYS is considering permitting hydrofracking in upstate New York.  Cedar Creek, Bay Park and Glen Cove STPS are on the list of STPs to handle its toxic, possible radioactive wastewater.  A private corporation cannot be prevented from introducing measures that will bring in more profits  If the corporation wants to take in hydrofracking wastewater, there will be nothing we can do to prevent it.
    • Once the STPs are privately owned, how well will the County be able to monitor them and protect our waterways from sewage leaks?
    • Three critical research studies of the Western Bays that are currently underway to assess their health will be used to craft a restoration plan.

     

     

     

    • These studies found high levels of ammonium (mainly from hair care products) and nitrogen (mainly from our sewage and water run-off) near Bay Park STP’s outflow pipe.
    • The County Health Dept. admits that serious respiratory problems being reported from Point Lookout residents may be caused by hydrogen sulfide gas emanating from seaweed decomposing at its shores.  Sewage leaks from Bay Park STP may be the reason for the increase in seaweed growth.
    • Tertiary treatment that filters out nitrogen and an ocean outflow pipe are being considered at Bay Park to remediate our waterways. 

     

     

    Does anyone believe that a private company will invest in improvements if it is not profitable? 

     

    The County expects to receive approximately $1.3 billion for the sale of our STPs to fix a one-time budget gap. To be profitable, the new company is likely to cut corners, may use the opportunity to take in possible radioactive, toxic hydrofracking wastewater from upstate, as well as sewage from other municipalities, and, as a result, may very well pollute our waterways and may very likely increase our sewage costs..

     

    We cannot foresee what problems we’ll face in the future. Twenty years ago, hydrofracking was not even conceived of.  But at least under public control, the people could elect representatives they trust to protect the health and safety of our families and preserve our waterways, beaches and our environment.

     

    This coalition is seeking full disclosure of the County’s proposal, including transparency and accountability at each step of the sale or lease process, as well as the establishment of a citizens’ advisory committee so that we, as residents of the County and owners of the facilities, have a voice in that decision.

     

    We believe that public oversight is a necessity to protect residents against a potential increase in costs to the taxpayers of Nassau County, loss of local control and the possibility of negatively impacting the health and safety of our families and our environment for generations to come. 

     

    The Crest Law of the Iroquois Confederacy states:  “In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the seventh generation.”

    We believe it would be irresponsible for Mangano to look to fill the county’s budget gap without considering what effect that decision will have on our children’s children.

     


    Website Builder