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Op-Ed: Suffolk Dems Are Playing $ Games on Sewers; We need Truth, Answers and Transparency

By Maureen Daly

The bipartisan vote last month by the Suffolk County Legislature to freeze the Democrats’ and Bellone Administration’s murky, last-minute proposals to spend huge tax dollars on a new bureaucracy for alleged "sewer" projects, was the right decision. The plan was looking more like a political "slush fund," and a "jobs program" for political hacks.

The Democrats are now in a desperate "tax-first, ask-later" posture - because they want to access taxpayers' money first - before this November's elections. The Republican Legislative Majority have promised to NOT let that happen, and to give voters the right to vote first for a new County Executive and Legislature in November.

In 2020, the then-Democrat majority County Legislature adopted a Sub-Watershed Plan, with the assurance that the plan would be an accurate guideline for future plans to address groundwater and waterways nitrogen pollution issues. But it wasn't.

Instead, the Democrats and Bellone Administration are now demanding a series of vague, undefined and half-baked "proposals" be put on the ballot this November. The Democrats and Bellone want the money and the power first - then they will tell you how they are going to spend and use it.

Among the Dem's proposals is one highly-political "plan" to establish a "countywide sewer district" - full of political patronage; and another "plan" to allow tax dollars to be diverted into a "special fund" that would pay for some projects. Which ones ? Don't worry - they will pick the projects for you...

In a rush to grab political patronage and spend tax money before they leave office in December, the Bellone Administration now wants the people to give them the money, so they can sign "midnight contracts" with their political supporters, and appoint new political boards for their political cronies.

Some of the Bellone / Democrats' proposals include:

  • A new layer of government would be created - full of "political patronage" and barely accountable to any other part of the Suffolk government. More "jobs for the boys," more administrative costs, and more taxes.

  • The fake budgetary reliance on "federal or state grants" which may not even exist - meaning even more taxes.

  • The power to begin collecting NEW taxes, before an official plan is even adopted or in place.

  • The power to re-assess your property - and raise your property taxes - with grossly unfair new tax assessments.

  • The power to force homeowners to pay an average $15,000 to $30,000 to install new septic/cesspool systems. If you don't do it - you will be fined and you won't be allowed to sell your house.

The vote by the Legislature to stop the railroading of these "proposals" was the right call.

We all now have time to get answers - and protect taxpayers - and not push through shotgun votes, that leave voters in the dark.

Since January 2022, when the GOP took control of the Suffolk Legislature, it has approved more than $155 million in water and wastewater projects to preserve our farmland and open space. We all agree that we must protect our natural environment.

Protecting the use of taxpayer dollars is the cornerstone of the Legislature’s responsibilities. And the Suffolk Legislature GOP-majority protected taxpayers by stopping the tax and patronage hungry "sewer plan" proposals of the lame-duck Democrats.

In three months, Suffolk voters will elect a new County Executive and a new County Legislature. Let our newly-elected representatives decide these issues, not the lame-duck outgoing team looking for expensive new bureaucracies, midnight political appointments, giveaway contracts, and surprise new taxes.


Maureen Daly is the Managing Editor of the North Shore Leader


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