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Nassau County cost-sharing plan gets vote Monday

Nassau County lawmakers will vote Monday on plans by the county, its three towns, two cities and local villages and school districts to share services such as pothole repair, snow removal and sewage treatment.

The 127-page plan, required of counties statewide under legislation championed by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, includes proposals by nearly 50 Nassau municipalities to reduce property taxes by consolidating programs or sharing equipment and services.

Governments that prove their plan reduced costs would receive one-time matching funds from the state.

“Our countywide plans will go a long way to reducing costs to the many residents of all levels of government,” said Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, a Republican.

While many proposals aren’t fully developed and have no estimated cost savings, others have been discussed for years and have the potential to save millions of dollars, officials said.

The City of Long Beach is reviving a plan to convert its 70-year-old sewage treatment plant into a pump station that would transfer raw sewage in an underground pipe under Reynolds Channel to the county’s Bay Park Sewage Treatment Plant.

Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman said the plant needs $178 million in repairs and upgrades. Diverting the wastewater to Bay Park would cost $50 million, he said.

The city is pursuing a state grant for the project, which Schnirman said will end the flow of waste into the channel.

“This will make an immediate difference in stopping pollution in the channel,” said Schnirman, a Democrat who is running for Nassau County comptroller.

Nassau is proposing to work with the GOP-controlled towns of Hempstead and Oyster Bay to create a shared mobile app to alert officials of roadways that are in need of resurfacing and potholes requiring spot repair. The county estimates the project could save taxpayers a combined $558,000.

Nassau also wants to transfer three roadways to the Village of Island Park and maintenance of the Long Beach drawbridge to the Town of Hempstead. The town also is proposing to make its central vehicle maintenance facilities available to local governments that lack garages. The savings from those projects have yet to be determined.

In a June 5 letter to Mangano, Hempstead Supervisor Anthony Santino criticized the state program as rewarding “Johnny-come-lately service-sharers with grants while failing to reward governments, like Hempstead’s, that have been working cooperatively with other governments for years.”

The Town of Oyster Bay expects to make $148,000 through the sale of gas and diesel fuel, along with sand and salt for snow removal to area villages and school districts. The Nassau Police Department also would buy fuel from the town.

“This is the beginning of tremendous cost savings for the town,” said Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino

The Town of North Hempstead would share catch-basin cleaning with the villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Estates and Kensington; paving and road maintenance with the Village of North Hills; and emergency notification services with the Village of Roslyn Estates.

Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, a Democrat, said the proposals would “reduce costs” for North Hempstead residents although she did not provide an estimated savings for the plan.

After the legislative vote, the proposal would be sent for approval to the Shared Services Board, which comprises local municipal officials. Nassau would finalize the plan by Sept. 15 and make a final public presentation by Oct. 15.

Suffolk last week unveiled a shared service plan that County Executive Steve Bellone said could save as much as $37 million over the next two years.

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