Written by Wendy Karpel Kreitzman Friday, 26 March 2010 00:00
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand came to Great Neck last Friday afternoon, March 19. The senator held a press conference in the Village of Great Neck, at the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District’s waste water treatment facility on East Shore Road. A large gathering of public officials joined Senator Gillibrand in support of the underlying issue, jobs.
Senator Gillibrand stated that “Every billion dollars in spending for water infrastructure creates more than 26,000 jobs.” Both Senator Gillibrand and U.S. Representative Gary Ackerman called for a federal commitment to invest in water infrastructure projects. The planned combination and upgrade of the Village of Great Neck’s sewer plant and that of the sewer district is expected to cost $60 million and, according to the senator, create 480 jobs.
North Hempstead Town Supervisor Jon Kaiman introduced Senator Gillibrand, stating: “This is where federal policy affects local reality. We will put people to work, improve the environment, meet the needs of a local community and show that government can work when we work together at all levels. Supervisor Kaiman added that, “Senator Gillibrand is standing for principle, policy and real people whose lives will be made better while helping the economy grow stronger.”
Senator Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, told the crowd that she is “urging Senate Leadership to include major new investments for water infrastructure in the upcoming jobs legislation,” as often Long Island property taxpayers are “stuck footing the bill for such projects.”
Senator Gillibrand continued, stating: “Relieving the property tax burden is one of my top priorities. In order to sustain New York’s workforce, character and people, the federal government must play its part to assist local communities address the burden of high property taxes – and that starts with water infrastructure.” And, she emphasized, “Here in Great Neck we have a shovel-ready, priority water infrastructure project, waiting for federal investment.” The senator again stated that “The federal government has failed to provide the resources Long Island needs to rebuild these structures and enable real, long-term economic growth … our local governments and communities cannot and should not be left to cover these costs alone … taxpayers simply cannot afford it … it is time for the federal government to deliver Long Island its fair share.”
Congressman Ackerman spoke in support of the senator’s push for funds for water infrastructure projects, such as this one in Great Neck. “Investing key resources in water infrastructure projects is critical to the future of our region,” said Congressman Ackerman. “It is essential that our water facilities are maintained and improved … upgrading key facilities such as Great Neck’s wastewater treatment plant is critical to spurring economic growth, creating jobs, ensuring a cleaner environment and protecting the health and safety of all Long Islanders.” The congressman said that he is looking forward to working with Senator Gillibrand “on this extremely important issue.”
New York State Assemblywoman Michelle Schimel is also “delighted to partner with Senator Gillibrand on a project that is near and dear to my heart, namely the upgrade of the Great Neck Water Pollution Control District.” The assemblywoman added that “The Senator now becomes part of an intricate network of stakeholders who are in complete pursuit of what will be the most efficient, environmentally responsive sewer district on Long Island … a sewer treatment plant that will serve as a model for others in New York State.” Assemblywoman Schimel said that she “welcomes” the senator’s “advocacy for help in funding of this important plant.” Assemblywoman Schimel also stated that “good government is a process and we will all work in harmony for this environmentally friendly project.”
Nassau County Legislator Judi Bosworth praised the fact that “everybody worked together to show Great Neck at its best.”
Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman, representing the mayors of the villages served by the sewer district, welcomed Senator Gillbrand to “this beautiful peninsula, a place to enjoy.” Mayor Kreitzman said that he and his village are “willing participants” in this project and signed an agreement to combine the plants well over a year ago. Since signing the agreement, the mayor said, “The village has worked diligently to assist in implementing the combination.” Mayor Kreitzman serves on the town’s mayor’s advisory committee to this project, along with Great Neck Plaza Mayor Jean Celender, Kensington Mayor Susan Lopatkin, Saddle Rock Mayor J. Leonard Samansky, and Thomaston Mayor Robert Stern.
Speaking for the GNWPCD, Commissioner Jane Rebhuhn said, “We can’t thank Senator Gillibrand enough for her support for our project,” and she said that the new treatment plant will create jobs, save money, and include “environmentally friendly technology.”
Senator Gillibrand concluded her remarks, stating that “new, good-paying construction jobs are desperately needed” on Long Island and that “every dollar spent for development generates three times as much back in economic impact.” And she said that “by committing federal dollars to flow to local governments and communities, Long Island can open up more opportunities for economic growth through downtown revitalization, create cleaner environments and protect community health and well-being through clean water … investing in infrastructure not only enables economic development and long term sustainability, but it helps create jobs and can lower the property tax burden on Long Island families.”