This spring, at the tail end of a pandemic, Suffolk County adopted a plan to raise sewer rates in our community 452% over what is legally permissible. The county claims we have been underpaying for sewer services ever since the Kings Park State Hospital closed in 1996, and they now want us to pay
The truth is the state transferred the hospital’s sewage treatment plant to the Town of Smithtown in 1973 in return for the hospital paying no sewer fees for 13 years. Even after the sewage treatment plant was transferred to the county in 1978, the state hospital continued to pay no sewer fees until 1986.
As the hospital population decreased and eventually closed in 1996, several other Kings Park and Smithtown localities connected to the sewage treatment plant, including Harbor Oaks, Gum Tree Gardens, St, Johnland Nursing Center, Saint Catherine of Siena Medical Center, Siena Village, Brookside Multicare Nursing Center, Kings Park Manor, the Lake Bridge Club and Martin Luther King Apartments. All these new additions to the sewer district helped balance lost fees from the
In addition, after sewer rates began increasing exponentially across Suffolk County, the county created the Sewer Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF) in 2000. It is funded from a voter approved sales tax (1/4 of 1%) and is used to offset any increase in sewer taxes and fees over 3% annually and to expand and improve
However, County Executive Bellone illegally diverted approximately $171.3 million from this fund to pay for excessive union contracts in exchange for millions in campaign contributions. He was successfully sued by the Pine Barrens Society and was ordered by the court to return the money to the sewer fund by 2029, but his efforts to circumvent this ruling persisted.