A feasibility study is the next step in the quest for cheaper water and the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County has commissioned one to start in September.
The next step was announced at a Water Authority meeting Thursday night at Merrick Road Park Clubhouse. In addition, the Town of Hempstead gave the group $50,000, which will help pay for the study. The study will cost about $55,000, according to Richard Ronan, water authority chairman, and will take about three to six months.
After the results are in, then the water authority will be able to move forward with plans if the outcome of the study is good. That step will take an additional six months. However, if the outcome of the study is negative the group will then have to take a step back and re-evaluate.
In addition to announcing the acceptance of the grant and speaking about the study, the board was on hand to answer questions about Aqua and American Water. One of these pressing questions is the fact that the issue of taxes is confusing and residents feel as though they are paying taxes to school districts for property that the water company owns in those districts, which they shouldn't be.
"I don't mind paying taxes to the place that I live, but I don't think we should have to pay them to places we don't," said one resident.
Legis. Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick, also brought up the fact that many people are bringing this to his attention and he wants to make sure that everyone is clear.
"It's not right to make a payment in lieu of taxes just because there is property owned there," he said of making payments to other school districts like Valley Stream, Oceanside and East Meadow.
Denenberg also noted that the urgency to move forward is there for residents, a concern echoed by Wantagh resident, Raymond Sheehan.
"I am concerned that we are paying three times higher then everyone else," he said. However, Ronan said that other places add water to the tax bill as well as bill for it, but American Water rates are still 2.5 percent to 5 percent higher then other Long Island residents.
"The reason that we are doing this is because New York Water (Aqua/American Water) have had tremendous increases year-over-year," he said.
The next meeting of the water authority will be on Sept. 12 at Merrick Road Park Clubhouse at 7 p.m.