The Nassau Legislature cleared the way for more than $146 million in emergency repairs and renovations to county sewage treatment plants, roadways, bridges and traffic signals, all of which were severely damaged by superstorm Sandy.
The GOP-controlled legislature unanimously approved the capital funding authorization Tuesday. Nassau will issue bonds to pay for the projects and then seek reimbursement from the federal and state governments.
While county spokesman Brian Nevin said Nassau will seek 100 percent reimbursement, Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) said she expects the county will ultimately receive between 75 percent and 90 percent of the $146.2 million authorization.
The funding approval was a rare bipartisan agreement among the sharply divided 10-9 legislature.
"This is evidence that the legislature is working in a bipartisan fashion to manage the concerns emerging from superstorm Sandy," Gonsalves said.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said lawmakers "worked for the little guy for the betterment of all Nassau County residents."
The Nassau Interim Finance Authority, a state oversight board in control of the county's finances, must still approve the spending.
"We will review the request expeditiously when the county submits to us the information we need, and we hope to take up the issue at our board meeting next week," NIFA chairman Ron Stack said.
The capital funding will focus on the county's infrastructure, which was badly damaged in the storm.
Among the repairs are $30 million to replace equipment at the Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant. The East Rockaway facility sustained major damage when nine feet of saltwater penetrated the plant during the height of the storm.
Abrahams, who has called for the county to spend an additional $450 million to make long-term improvements to the plant, said the emergency funding was a "great start and a step in the right direction."
The county will spend an additional $1.5 million to clean up dozens of homes in East Rockaway and along Barnes Avenue in Baldwin, where pipes ruptured during the storm, sending raw sewage flowing into basements and through the street.
Nassau will also spend $6.75 million to replace 68 road maintenance vehicles destroyed in the storm, including a sweeper with less than 100 miles on the odometer. The funds will also be used to purchase 200 light towers that can be used during future emergencies.
The legislature must still approve a multiyear capital budget for projects unrelated to Sandy. Abrahams expects a vote on the capital budget, which would cover 2012-2015, to occur early next year. The legislature did not vote on a capital budget in 2011.
146.2 MILLION IN EMERGENCY FUNDING
$22.8 million to rehabilitate pump stations that help move sewage through the county's wastewater system.
$6.75 million to replace 68 county road maintenance vehicles destroyed in the storm and to purchase 200 light towers. An additional $1.5 million will go to replace 30 police cars.
$5 million to repair the roadbed of West Shore Road in Mill Neck.
$4 million to replace fallen traffic poles and signals and to purchase traffic signals that can be used during power outages.
$3 million to repair infrastructure, replace dunes and combat erosion at Nickerson Beach and other county beaches.