We stand shoulder to shoulder with our colleagues at Group for the East End, and many other local environmental groups, in opposition of the two bills proposed by County Executive Steve Bellone that would raid the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program for the next 3 years to offset operating deficits. The package would go before the voters, but the language is so vague that most folks won’t understand what they are voting for – except the potential of lower taxes. Newsday has already panned this proposal but the County Executive is pressing hard for approval.
We are asking residents across Long Island to call or email Rob Calarco, Legislator (D) – The Presiding Officer of the Legislature with your comments (which can be as simple as PLEASE DO NOT ALLOW THE DRINKING WATER PROTECTION FUNDS TO BE RAIDED – AGAIN).
In fact, the County’s Drinking Water Protection Program has already given over $300 million for tax relief – allowed $171 million in borrowing (that the county now says it doesn’t want to pay back) and filled the programs 477 funds (which was created to help provide local clean water infrastructure and improvement grants) with 84 staff positions.
The county argued it will pay the money back out of the capital budget – but that is borrowed money and even if it is authorized the Legislature will have to obligate the spending when the county is – by its own estimate – broke. Likewise, at the same time they are assuring us that the money will be paid back / they are simultaneously proposing to forgive over 150 million already due back to the fund as a result of prior sweeps.
See additional info below regarding how the Legislature is dealing with comments during the current pandemic. You can also leave voice messages.
Due to public health and safety concerns related to COVID-19 and pursuant to Executive Order 202.1, extended by Executive Orders 202.14, 202.28, 202.38, and 202.48, as well as Executive Order 202.15, extended by Executive Orders 202.29, 202.39, and 202.49 the County Legislature’s Public Hearings will be held on July 21 at 2:00 pm via a Zoom meeting. The Clerk will accept written testimony via mail to the Clerk’s Office at the Suffolk County Legislature, William H. Rogers Building, 725 Veterans Memorial Highway, Smithtown NY 11787, or email to [email protected], as well as recorded voice testimony at (631) 853-3685 until the end of the General Meeting on July 21.
If we fail to stand up, we will be run over for sure.