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Residents Outraged Over Water Bills

The Glen Head-Glenwood Civic Association held a town meeting last week with officials from New York American Water Company, in an attempt to get to the bottom of the high water bills many residents say they have been receiving since the company took over service for the area from Aqua two years ago. About two dozen residents attended the meeting, held at the North Shore High School cafeteria.

 

“Our bills have become outrageous since you took over,” said George Pombar, president of the association, after introducing the representatives and listening to their presentation on usage. “What has made them so high?” 

 

The water company provides water for Sea Cliff, Glen Head and areas of Glenwood Landing and Old Brookville. Brian Bruce, vice president of operations for NYAW, gave a presentation explaining the company’s capital improvement plans and outlined the components that make up customers’ water bills. He said the company is investing in infrastructure, with plans for water main upgrades, water meter replacements, service replacements, a Glen Head tank replacement, and water production improvements. He assured the audience that the rates for water usage had not increased since 2006, though the utility will be applying for a rate increase from the New York Public Service Commission (PSC) for 2015. 

 

Bruce explained that about 1,800 customers had not been billed for their actual usage when the company took over, so their initial bills were likely higher than in the past. He said the differences in water bills could be caused from increased water usage, and said a property tax surchage has been added to all customers’ bills: 30 percent of each customer’s bill is a result of property taxes that the utility pays, which has increased from $1.1 million in 2011 to $1.5 million in 2013.

 

Community members in attendance were generally not pleased with his explanation, expressing skepticism and frustration.

 

One Sea Cliff resident said, “My water bill has almost tripled since you guys took over...I’ve called many times and you guys told me I probably have a leak.”

 

One woman said, “Give us a clear explanation...all of us have used so much more water?”

 

Bruce said, “I need to see individual bills to assess the usage.” He said that he has already looked into some complaints and has seen “no big discrepancies” between the bills. 

 

“I’ve lived here 40 years and I can’t afford the water,” said one man.

 

One woman said her bill stated her usage was over 9,000 gallons per day, as opposed to 1,000 per day during the same period last year. 

 

“Something isn’t logical here,” commented a resident.

 

As the meeting went on, people became more and more agitated with the company’s lack of answers.

 

“You are a publicly traded company providing the public with water,” said one resident. “You should be able to provide answers.” He later noted, “If you want to charge more money, you should provide us with more service.”

 

“We feel victimized,” said one woman. “We’re sitting ducks. What’s our choice? The issue is not our usage.”

 

At the close of the meeting, Pombar told the audience that they would continue to have discussions and that civic associations have been talking to other water districts to see about finding another water service provider and “maybe we’ll buy them out and become our own water district...but that’s easier said than done.”

News

It was the second annual goal setting workshop at Glen Cove High School on Tuesday, Oct. 14 and both the board of education and the public came up with some sound ideas for the district. School Superintendent Maria Rianna presented a slide show of four main areas that are the focus of district goals.

 

“We began this process last year and these goals are representative of what the community wanted to see,” said Rianna.

Glen Cove residents may see a 1.64 percent increase in the tax levy next year, the amount proposed at last week’s public hearing. Mayor Reginald Spinello and the Glen Cove City Council held an initial reading of the proposed budget for 2015, and will take final vote on Tuesday, Oct. 28, at the next city council meeting.

 

“It’s very easy for a first time mayor to raise the taxes and blame it on a prior administration, and that is not what I am doing,” said Mayor Spinello. “In the past three administrations there were budgets with increases of  almost 28 percent to down to 12 percent, but it’s a different time now...I think that the residents are certainly going to feel relief. I put together a budget...that I believe is fair and reasonable and a good budget.”


Sports

The Town of Oyster Bay, in conjunction with the New York Rangers, will once again host a special Try Hockey for Free Program on Sunday morning, Oct. 26 from 8 a.m. to noon at ithe Ice Skating Center located in Bethpage Community Park, 1000 Stewart Ave. 

 

The event will allow youngsters a unique opportunity to sample the sport of ice hockey. Four morning sessions will be available. Session times are 8 to 9 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., 10 to 11 a.m. and 11 a.m. to noon.

On Thursday, Oct. 2, North Shore High School quarterback Michael Floccari shattered a school record and tied a Long Island record for the most touchdown passes in a game. This accomplishment ties him with E.J. Clark from Seaford High School (1977) and Joe Capobianco form Lawrence High school (2011). 


Calendar

Harvest Square Dance - October 24

Fall Festival - Octobner 24 - 25

Peace, Politics and Projectiles - October 26


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