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Letter: Repair Our Sewer System Properly

Let me begin by affirming that the Democratic Caucus of the Nassau County Legislature is committed to funding every cent necessary to rebuild our sewage treatment plants that were damaged during Superstorm Sandy. However, we believe that in order to authorize funding there are three enormous inter-related problems the county faces that must be addressed.

 

First, the reckless borrowing and spending under County Executive Mangano has caused Nassau’s debt to soar to $3.5 billion. Second, the reconstruction of the sewage treatment plants will require an additional $1 billion in borrowed funds, but must be closely monitored in the wake of federal, state and local investigations stemming from previous post-

Sandy contracts and finally the repairs and the funding must be secured in phases and properly monitored to ensure timely completion and maximize federal reimbursement. 

 

Under C.E. Mangano, public debt has ballooned to the highest level in the history of Nassau County. If this crisis is not addressed, the unprecedented Mangano debt will cripple

Nassau’s chances for economic recovery and future prosperity. Business will suffer, taxes will soar, infrastructure will decay, and quality of life will plummet, as Nassau taxpayers struggle for decades to dig out of a fiscal hole.   

 

The rebuilding of the sewage treatment plants would be the largest public works project in the history of Nassau County. It would be foolish and irresponsible to have no legislative oversight on this project and we can’t risk being denied federal reimbursement because of improprieties in the contracting process.

 

This July, the Nassau County Legislature authorized $262 million, in accordance with the County Executive’s plan for the 3rd quarter of 2013, to start the rebuilding process of the plants. Almost half of this expenditure will provide funding for storm restoration. It will also pay for the digesters, pumps and odor control.

 

We want to see projects done right, done on time and done at or under budget. Our plan is to require regular updates on progress of the program and to approve the borrowing when it is justified and necessary.

 

Over the next few weeks, the legislators will be touring the Bay Park sewage treatment plant speaking with county engineers, plant workers and FEMA representatives about specifications, design, and reimbursement procedures.

 

Delia DeRiggi-Whitton

 

Nassau County Legislator