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State censures Nassau water authority
The state Authorities Budget Office has censured the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County for persistently failing to comply with state laws governing public authorities.
The state agency announced Tuesday that it sent a letter of censure last week, after the water authority failed to file annual and audit reports for fiscal year 2011 and a budget report for the fiscal year ending in 2013. The water authority was one of three authorities statewide cited this week.
“We were compelled to take this enforcement action because the boards of directors neglected their legal responsibilities over several years and failed to respond to previous warnings issued by our office,” Authorities Budget Office director David Kidera said in a statement.
The agency’s censure letter is now part of public record. Disclosure of formal written reprimand may be required by federal securities law, should the authority seek to finance debt in the future, state officials said.
“The Authority will be filing fiscal and annual reports for 2011 despite the fact that no monies were expended during that period,” said a statement provided by water authority secretary John Reinhardt, who is also the commissioner of Hempstead Town’s Department of Water. “Additionally, the budget report for the year ending in 2013 is currently being completed.”
If authority officials submit outstanding reports, the state agency would not take further action. Otherwise, the budget office could recommend the suspension or dismissal of officers of the authority and begin legal proceedings to access documents concerning the finances and operations of the authority.
“This is more than oversight by the board,” Claudia Borecky, president of the North and Central Merrick Civic Association, said in an email. “This is a serious infraction. This board is putting into jeopardy the possibility of a future acquisition of Aqua.”
Water authority officials are exploring a possible public takeover of the former Aqua New York Inc., which was purchased last year by the parent company of Long Island American Water. They have said they expect to release a feasibility study by late summer or early fall.