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Levy asks Suffolk legislators for control over projects

As Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy hits the gubernatorial campaign trail touting his fiscal reform Plan for New York, he is asking Suffolk legislators to approve a bill to cede him broad authority over four major county projects.

Levy's proposal, introduced at Tuesday night's Legislature meeting, would authorize him to sell the John J. Foley Skilled Nursing Facility and the Yaphank land designated for the $400 million Legacy Village project.

Levy also wants the authority to purchase the IRS building in Holtsville and to make changes in the county's network of health centers to bring in $7.5 million annually in new federal aid. In separate legislation, Levy asked lawmakers to begin public hearings on selling the Yaphank nursing home, which are required before any sale.

Lawmakers reacted skeptically to the proposals.

"I don't think that one is anywhere near ready to move forward yet," presiding officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) said of Levy's bid for increased authority.

Legis. Tom Barraga (R-West Islip) said he is open to selling the nursing home but not before Levy presents lawmakers with details of any potential sale.

"We're waiting for this so-called proposal being made by a private entity," Barraga said. "I want to see what were talking about with reference to the cost factor."

Levy scheduled a news conference for this morning to discuss his proposals.

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