Bellone robocalls tout 'tele-town hall'; Updated

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Suffolk Executive Steve Bellone's camp rang up tens of thousands of county residents Sunday night to let them know about a clean-water "tele-town hall" Monday night in which the county executive will talk about his top priority of the upcoming year.

The calls are being paid for by a nonprofit and not by county money, a county spokesman said. The administration said this was the first time it had used this method to inform the public about an issue.

A third-party vendor made a phone call Sunday night to homeowners, informing them about the tele-town hall. Another call was planned for Monday night, and yet another call will be made if no one answers the first time.

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County spokesman Justin Meyers said 43,000 Suffolk homes received calls Sunday and tonight. It was paid for by the nonprofit Rauch Foundation, a Long Island-based group that focuses on issues including the environment. Meyers said the live tele town hall is the first used by the county executive, though members of the congressional delegation also use it. It will be moderated out of Washington D.C. by the vendor.

On Thursday, Bellone announced a campaign to clean up nitrogen-polluted waters that could include the building of sewer systems and advanced wastewater treatment plants.

Bellone said nitrogen flowing into aquifers and local waterways from septic systems and cesspools, as well as fertilizer runoff, hurts water quality and damages coastal areas that serve as storm buffers.

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