As an avid outdoorsman, I am perhaps more concerned about Long Island’s water quality than many readers [“Water plan has holes to plug,” Editorial, April 29]. Nevertheless, I am appalled by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s proposal to levy a water usage surcharge on residents. Did we not approve a sales tax surcharge back in 1987 to improve our water quality, only to find out later that two Suffolk County executives used that money to offset budget deficits?
If anyone should pay for the damage that cesspools do to our environment, it should be the people who actually have cesspools. I lived in Bay Shore with a cesspool and then experienced septic system problems during a short time living in New Jersey. When I moved back to Long Island, I made sure to choose a community that had a sewer system.
My neighbors and I in Mount Sinai pay hundreds of dollars each year to be hooked up to the municipal sewer system. My last yearly bill was for $504.71. So, I feel that we are doing more than our part to alleviate the nitrogen problem.
But before cesspool users or anyone else should be forced to pay yet another premium for living on Long Island, Suffolk County needs to explain where all of revenue from the quarter-cent sales tax went, and then properly allocate all of that money for water quality.
Ralph Brady, Mount Sinai
Water. We drink it, we wash with it, we cook with it. We fish in it, we swim in it. It drives our economy and supports our real estate. It’s in everything from beer to baby formula. We can’t survive without it.
Unfortunately, scientists indicate that Long Island’s waters are being poisoned at an alarming rate. This time it’s not Northrop Grumman, the Navy or some unscrupulous dry cleaner. It’s the cumulative impact of what we flush directly into our drinking-water aquifers every day.
Kudos to Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone for taking the initiative to change the trajectory we are on. It is much wiser for Suffolk County to invest in an ounce of prevention. When it comes to water, a pound of cure won’t be feasible.
Kimberly Williams, Cold Spring Harbor
I read in disbelief and complete disgust the article explaining how Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone wants to start charging residents a fee for water usage.
Suffolk County diverted $29.4 million from the sewer assessment stabilization fund, which was voted on by taxpayers to help fund water protection. On top of that, there is a surplus of $150 million that has not been rightfully returned to the taxpayers in the Southwest Sewer District, which is a violation of three public referenda.
Now Bellone wants to charge taxpayers a fee for water usage and put it to a vote on the ballot. What good is a vote when past referendas have been ignored?
Rosalie Hanson, Medford
I object to an additional charge for clean and pure water. I thought I was already paying for this commodity.
As for subsiding others’ sewer hookups, I’m in the Southwest Sewer District and have been paying for sewers since the district was created.
We were a family of four then, with two small children. I remember having to struggle to get together the more than $2,000 we needed to connect. Water and sewers are already being paid for.
Jessie Nelson, Lindenhurst
The only way I will vote for the proposed water plan is if the fund is untouchable for anything other than its original purpose.
I’m disgusted with politicians who cannot wait to get their hands on money in dedicated funds to use for other purposes, so they don’t have to raise taxes or cut expenses.
Lewis Franklin, Nesconset