Suffolk County, Thwarted Once, Seeks to Raid $30 Million in Environmental Funding Again

This notice was sent to me last night by Group for the East End. It’s depressing that once more The County Legislature is trying to pull a fast one on us by raiding funds earmarked for environmental purposes, but here we are.

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Back in November of 2013, The Suffolk County Legislature voted 13-3 to raid the county’s clean water fund to balance its budget. We wrote about that here. A lawsuit was filed. The $33 million raided was returned. Here was money from a fund paid for by a sales tax hike that was earmarked specifically to protect our drinking water, yet the legislature was ready to misappropriate the funds to balance its budget.

Chalk one up for the environmentalists. EXCEPT now the County is looking to raid $30 million dollars in funds meant for land protection, which plays a crucial part in our efforts to protect our drinking water. As we live on top of our drinking water, with Long Island as a ‘sole source aquifer,’ we must preserve our open spaces, that is those few we have left.

Not surprisingly, Suffolk County and the Legislature did not give us much notice to act. They are after all looking to gut another environmental fund to pay for the fact that they couldn’t gut the first. The budget votes are Tuesday, Oct 7th.

To contact the Legislature and the County Executive, FOLLOW THIS LINK

If you are free Tuesday and want to speak directly to the Legislature in Riverhead, there will be a rally Tuesday at 9:30.

Next Tuesday (October 7th at 9:30am), the County Legislature will meet to consider the recommendation of an ad-hoc committee for $80 million in long-term budget cuts. Astonishingly, nearly 40% ($30 million) of all the proposed cuts are slated to come from authorized commitments for land preservation. All land protection funding is desperately needed in part because land protection remains the most cost-effective way to protect and restore water quality for the future.

Please join us at the Suffolk County Legislature (Riverhead Legislative Auditorium, 300 Center Drive MAP) at 9:30AM on Tuesday to lend your support, offer comments, and join us for a brief press event at 11AM.