On Thursday, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano announced a Debt Reduction and Sewer Stabilization Plan to eliminate $750 million -- 25 percent -- of the county's $3 billion debt. The plan also aims to stabilize Nassau County's Sewer Authority, which is set to face bankruptcy in 2014, as warned by the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority (NIFA) in its October 2009 report.
The Debt Reduction and Sewer Stabilization Plan includes the implementation of a public-private partnership to operate and maintain Nassau's three wastewater treatment plants, which have fallen into a dangerous state of disrepair over the past decade, according to the county.
The sewage treatment plants have racked up more than $1 million in Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) fines, the county said in a release.
The plan requires a private operator to make necessary and costly improvements as part of a contract to operate and maintain Nassau's sewage treatment system while stabilizing rates and avoiding the NIFA predicted bankruptcy.
The county will host a series of informational meetings for the public prior to sending any plan to the Nassau County Legislature. The public information panel will include representatives from the Nassau County Department of Public Works and potential operator United Water.
The public information hearings will take place at 6 p.m. on May 9 at the Cedar Creek Sewage Treatment Plant, May 16 at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant and on May 17 at the Theodore Roosevelt Executive and Legislative Building.
Non Profit Fails to Cooperate with Comptroller's Audit, Contract Not Renewed
Nassau County Comptroller George Maragos' office aborted its attempt to conduct a limited audit of its contract with the Long Island Association for AIDS Care, Inc. (LIAAC) due to lack of cooperation by the agency.
According to Maragos, LIAAC was not adequately forthcoming with requested documents and records that as required under its contract with the county.
Maragos is now recommending a review of the agency by State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman who oversees charities in the state, by State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli who oversees NYS contracts and the county attorney for potential breach of contract.
"The lack of transparency by LIAAC, a non-profit organization, raised very disturbing questions as to how taxpayer money is being spent," Maragos said. "Our discovery that the CEO of this non-profit was earning over $432,000 in compensation from multiple employers caused further concern. Upon failure to cooperate with our audit, we had no choice but to discontinue using LIAAC for further County services."
Catering Workers Form Advocacy Group to Fight Tip Legislation
Long Island restaurant, catering and banquet hall employees have established a new advocacy group to fight proposed legislation that will allow their employers to keep tips collected in the past from banquet patrons but never passed along to waiters, bartenders and bussers.
The group, Long Island Catering Employees Association, was introduced Monday at a Carle Place press conference.
Numerous caterers in the region collected tips, listed as a mandatory gratuity or service charge in their patrons’ contracts, but never distributed the money to their workers as required under state Labor Department rules and a 2008 decision by the state’s highest court, the Court of Appeals.
Now, the caterers are seeking to undermine a ruling, and have convinced state Sen. Jack Martins, R-Mineola, to introduce legislation that, if enacted, would eliminate any retroactivity on the employees' claims. This would result in the dismissal of pending law suits, which could bring 35,000 catering employees as much as $200 million in back tips. The legislation would make the practice of withholding tips illegal going forward.
Nassau to Host Workshop on Drug Prevention in Middle Schools
On May 11, Nassau County will host a free conference to help school districts create and implement effective drug prevention programs. The May 11 conference will be held at The Morrelly Homeland Security Center in Bethpage.
To register for the conference, school officials should contact Maria Ploth at (516) 571-1711.