Vote on new Suffolk traffic bureau delayed

The Traffic Violations and Parking Agency will be The Traffic Violations and Parking Agency will be located in space occupied by the Civil Service and disability workers in Hauppauge. (Oct. 4, 2012) Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

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Suffolk County legislators delayed $2.5 million in start-up money for a new traffic violations bureau because of last-minute changes to the plan and questions about whether laid-off county workers would be rehired to staff the bureau.

Aides to County Executive Steve Bellone had hoped to have the funding approved Tuesday, citing a state deadline of April 1 to open the bureau. But lawmakers voted 13-4 to table the measure until Nov. 7.

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Legis. John M. Kennedy Jr. (R-Nesconset) asked whether the administration planned to rehire county workers for the 19 full-time positions. Deputy County Executive Jon Schneider replied, "I do not have a firm commitment on that, but it's certainly something we will work closely on with the legislature."

Legis. Louis D'Amaro (D-North Babylon) pushed for the delayed vote after the plan presented Tuesday differed from one approved by the legislature's public works committee last week. That plan called for $3.4 million to renovate space in the county's Perry Duryea Building in Hauppauge for the new bureau.

The plan submitted to lawmakers Tuesday called for the H. Lee Dennison Building to house the bureau, and reduced costs to about $2.5 million.

"It's just not appropriate for us to commit to funding when we have nothing before us other than a hand-drawn plan," D'Amaro said.

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Public Works Commissioner Gilbert Anderson said after Tuesday's legislative meeting that design work would start on the new offices, but said, "I don't have the confidence to say we can do it on time."

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