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Progress on possible public takeover of Aqua New York to be discussed this week

The state Authorities Budget Office has censured the

The state Authorities Budget Office has censured the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County for persistently failing to provide annual and audit reports for fiscal year 2011. (Credit: Danielle Finkelstein)

The Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County is expected to discuss its progress next week on its quest to possibly conduct a public takeover of the former Aqua New York Inc.

The water authority plans to hold a public meeting at the Marjorie R. Post Park, on Merrick Road and Unqua Road in Massapequa, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. Residents who were served by Aqua New York are encouraged to attend, officials said.

In July, the water authority hired a utility appraisal and engineering services firm to study the potential costs and benefits of taking over the service area, which was formerly owned by Aqua. The authority has used the $75,000 in funds committed by the towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay to help pay for the study. If the authority approves a takeover, the funds would have to be repaid, water authority officials said.


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The parent company of Long Island American Water purchased Aqua New York last May. The deal was completed despite interest by the authority in taking over Aqua. Authority members have said state law gives them the power to take over Aqua’s former service area in parts of Hempstead and Oyster Bay towns, even with the purchase of Aqua.

Supporters of a public takeover said it could mean long-term savings for former Aqua customers. Authority members argued a takeover would result in the loss of property taxes paid by the water company, which school districts would have to recoup through increased taxes. Ratepayers in the service area would have to vote on a public takeover.
 

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