The plans of County Executive Ed Mangano to privatize the sewer system for parts of Nassau County is drawing a large response from Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, as well as the community.
At Thursday's meeting of the (NCMCA), Denenberg explained that selling off these plants to a private company will help Mangano balance the budget, but that it is not sustainable in the long term. He also said that Mangano continues to use cash reserves to do maintenance projects at the County's plants and that he has already selected Morgan Stanley to oversee the possible transaction.
"When a private company has a monopoly over a necessity, they will make their money back," he said.
Denenberg told the crowd that this is not the first time that selling an asset has come up, and it hasn't worked out for the best before.
"We have sold hospitals and it's come back to bite us. We still have the debt but we lost the asset. We need to think about giving away this asset and what it will do to our sewer tax," he said.
Denenberg also told attendees that the county executive tried to impose a sewer usage fee on tax exempts, like school districts, and a lawsuit ensued.
The newly formed Nassau County Coalition of Civic Associations (NCCCA) is hoping to mount pressure at halting the , which would involve selling or leasing the Cedar Creek Water Pollution Control Plant in Wantagh, Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and Glen Cove Sewage Plant to a private company. Mangano's plan is aimed at helping the county close a more than $300 million deficit.
Claudia Borecky, president of the NCMCA, explained that the coalition has done research and that sewage rates are about $185 per year. If the plants are sold, then sewage rates could go as high as $185 per month.
"If our rates become like our Aqua water rates, you are going to hurt us more than if you raised our taxes," she said.
Members of the coalition encouraged community members to come and speak at the Legislature so representatives know how people from the community feel.
"We, the people, own those sewer plants," said an attendee at the NCMCA meeting. "We paid for them once and we don't want to wind up paying for them again."
Denenberg is scheduled to host a forum on Mangano's sewer system privatization plan Tuesday night at the starting at 7:30 p.m.