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Farmingdale considers cheaper water contract

The Village of Farmingdale in the Town of

The Village of Farmingdale in the Town of Oyster Bay was officially incorporated in 1904 and the area became known for its aviation and aerospace technology. (July 5, 2011) Credit: Alexi Knock

Farmingdale officials are expected to vote Monday on the hiring of an outside consultant to help the village decide between competing proposals for cheaper water.

Trustees will consider bringing on the Boston-based Guastella Associates utility management and consulting firm to analyze possible deals with Suffolk County Water Authority and Bethpage Water District in a decision that Mayor George Starkie called “comparing apples and oranges.”

Suffolk, the front-runner to take over the village water district, would charge a flat rate of $1.52 per 1,000 gallons and invest $4 million in water infrastructure improvements. Farmingdale would set the rate for residents, and the deal would make the village the first Nassau County municipality with a cross-border SCWA contract.

Bethpage in recent months has altered its proposal to better compete with Suffolk’s lower rates, said the mayor, who did not detail the Bethpage rates. A Bethpage deal would require Farmingdale to take out millions of dollars in bonds to cover water infrastructure improvements, Starkie said.

“Suffolk County is much less risk, but Bethpage came through with a very responsible proposal,” Starkie said. “Having additional data in this is a bonus, so we’re going to vote to hire a professional contractor to vet both proposals and give us the pluses and minuses.”

The village would hire Guastella at a rate not to exceed $8,000, Starkie said. The company could not be reached for comment.

Bethpage Water District superintendent Michael Boufis said in a statement he was confident an independent consultant would find the Bethpage proposal to be beneficial to Farmingdale.

“It will be helpful to have such an expert, as these offers are relatively complex and contain different variables as they impact the village,” Boufis said.

SCWA chief executive Jeff Szabo said he looks forward to working with Farmingdale if the village chooses Suffolk’s services.


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