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Nassau lawmakers pass plan to share some municipal services

The Nassau legislature Monday approved plans by the county, its three towns and dozens of other local municipalities to share services and consolidate programs to help reduce property taxes.

The GOP-controlled legislature voted unanimously to accept the 127-page plan, which the county must finalize by Sept. 15. Lawmakers did not discuss most of the specific proposals or their potential impact on costs and services.

State legislation backed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo allows governments that prove their plans have reduced costs to receive one-time state matching funds.

Deputy County Executive Ed Ward said most of the programs “need to be fleshed out” to determine the actual savings.

“It’s very hard to figure out the actual savings of a different program or project right now,” Ward told the legislature. “Right now it’s a guesstimate.”

The state will not provide the matching funds until 2019 when the full cost and savings are realized, Ward said.

The City of Long Beach submitted the most extensive proposal. The city wants to convert its 70-year-old sewage treatment plant into a pump station that would transfer raw sewage in a pipe under Reynolds Channel to the county’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

The Long Beach plant needs $178 million in repairs and upgrades, officials said, but diverting the wastewater to Bay Park would cost $50 million.

Also Monday, minority Democrats submitted legislation sponsored by Legis. Delia De-Riggi Whitton (D-Glen Cove) to require pharmacies countywide to post notices alerting customers to the danger of addiction from opioids.

Pharmacies that fail to post the notice would be subject to a $150 fine for the first offense and $500 for every additional offense.

Rosemarie Sherry of Glen Cove, whose son struggled with opioid addiction after suffering a shoulder injury, said “perhaps it could have been avoided” if she had received more warnings about the addictive nature of his medication.

Majority Republicans said the bill is under review.

Lawmakers also:

  • Voted to reauthorize a 30-cent per month 911 surcharge on all cellphone bills, and for the first time, to extend the surcharge to prepaid cellphones.

The state began imposing the surcharge in 1991 but now allows local municipalities to opt-in or out of the program. County officials estimate they will receive $745,000 in revenues that would be used to upgrade the 911 system and call center.

  • Unanimously approved legislation to require the Nassau Police Department to perform criminal background checks, including fingerprint screenings, of all applicants to become SPCA peace officers. The $75 processing fee would be absorbed by the SPCA.

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