The town of Oyster Bay board last week approved borrowing $22.7 million to settle claims brought in two cases over utilities paying taxes to garbage districts. The town disclosed in a borrowing prospectus last month that it had reached a $21.4 million settlement with Keyspan Gas East Corp. Keyspan, which is part of National Grid, brought the case against the town in 2009. The bonds will also be used to settle a case brought in 2008 by New York Water Corp. Utility companies have won a series of lawsuits brought since the 1990s against Nassau County, the towns of Hempstead, North Hempstead and Oyster Bay over the assessment of taxes on utility equipment. The companies argued they shouldn’t pay sanitation taxes on property that didn’t create refuse.
The town board passed the bond resolution without discussion at its board meeting last week. The town previously borrowed $3.3 million to settle a similar claim brought by Verizon. The three towns expect the county to reimburse them for their costs after successfully suing the county. But the county is appealing parts of that case, which imposed an estimated $185 million liability on the county.