Town Commits Money to Research Aqua Takeover
After reviving an inactive Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County, Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray and Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto have committed $75,000 to finance research and other costs associated with a feasibility study on the takeover of a private water company, Aqua New York, Inc.
The overriding determinant in this takeover study is whether water rate cost savings can be realized under a public takeover of this private water company, according to officials for both towns and water authority officials.
Hempstead Town has committed $50,000 to the Water Authority; Oyster Bay Town provided $25,000. This money is in addition to $10,000 from Hempstead and $5,000 from Oyster Bay granted to the Water Authority in late 2010 to help the group begin preliminary studies.
The five-member board of the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County, appointed by Hempstead and Oyster Bay Towns, has been tasked with studying the feasibility of a public acquisition of Aqua. The key to the valuation of Aqua’s assets and the assessment of acquisition costs is the determination of whether water customers will see real savings with the Water Authority providing service to those customers currently served by Aqua.
Under the New York Public Authority Law, Hempstead and Oyster Bay Town Boards were authorized to appoint five members to the Water Authority of Southeastern Nassau County (three members appointed by Hempstead and two by Oyster Bay). The Authority, a public benefit corporation, is an independent governmental entity that is not a component unit of either town. Further, the Authority is empowered to commence a takeover of the private water company that serves residents of Southeastern Nassau County.
The Water Authority looked at the feasibility of a public takeover in 1997, but the board ultimately voted against it. However, with Aqua water bills increasing by 12 percent over a three-year period, Murray and Venditto decided to reactivate the Water Authority and take a fresh look at the matter. Since that time, the Water Authority has held several community meetings to listen to residents' concerns, reviewed data and the findings of the 1997 board, set up a website and sought legal counsel.
Residents seeking more information on the Water Authority’s progress can visit the group's website.
Town Warns Against Distraction Burglaries
There have been several incidents recently where burglars have preyed on vulnerable senior citizens to gain access to their homes, and that's one reason why Hempstead Town Supervisor Kate Murray, Councilman Gary Hudes and the Department of Public Safety hosted a burglary prevention seminar at the East Meadow Senior Center on Jan. 6.
There have been nine “distraction burglaries” and attempted robberies in our area since Dec. 9, 2011, whereby criminals used various methods of deception to distract homeowners to gain access to valuables inside.
The spate of “distraction burglaries” and robbery attempts are a disturbing trend with senior citizens as the main targets. The following are some tips for senior citizens to consider in an effort to avoid becoming victims:
- Install and use a peephole
- Never open the door to strangers and never let them know you’re alone.
- Ask for identification. If someone rings your doorbell claiming to provide a service and/or represent a company, organization or group, ask them to present identification. Get their names.
- Beware of phone scams: Don’t give personal or financial information over the phone. Hang up on nuisance callers and report them.
- Protect yourself from common types of consumer crimes, including medical and insurance fraud, sweepstakes scams, business schemes and unlicensed home repairs.
- If someone breaks into your home, do not confront the burglar. Lock the room you’re in and if you can get to a phone, quietly call law enforcement officials.