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Suffolk lawmakers propose $40.4 million boost to capital plan

Suffolk legislative officials Thursday proposed $40.4 million more in capital spending in the next two years than the county executive's $540-million capital plan to spur jobs.

Presiding Officer William Lindsay (D-Holbrook) called for moving up new projects at Suffolk County Community College as a way to invest in the college where enrollment is now a record 25,000 students when interest rates are at an all-time low.

"If there was ever a time to generate jobs it's now," said Lindsay, surrounded by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and a half-dozen labor leaders. "The reason we're in crisis is that people are not spending and they are not spending money because they don't have jobs."

James Castellane, president of the building and trades council of Nassau and Suffolk, praised the initiative, adding that the college projects could generate as many as 500 construction jobs in an industry where there is 35 to 40 percent unemployment.

County Executive Steve Levy, in a prepared statement said, "While my budget held the line on capital spending, it is unfortunate that the legislature is seeking to add $40.4 million to the budget in these uncertain times."

The proposed amendment, put forward by the legislature capital budget working group, includes restoring funding for the college's $17.75-million gymnasium, pool and field house on the eastern campus, moving up funding for a new $30.9-million college library on the school's Brentwood campus and $10.3 million for repairs to various aging school buildings, some almost four decades old.

The legislature's amendment also includes $900,000 to do planning for sewer districts in Mastic-Shirley near the Forge River so that the county can match federal aid funds expected next year.

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