LI Clean Air Water and Soil, Ltd. ("CAWS") strongly urge you to reject the KPMG contract to investigate the feasibility of refinancing county and sewer debt by leasing the County's sewage treatment plants to a finance firm.
Yes, this is a good deal for Nassau County Government.
Who wouldn't want nearly a billion dollars that it doesn't have to pay back? Yes, it's a good deal for the financial conglomerate that wins the bid. Who wouldn't want a guaranteed rate of return of between 4% and 8% fee increases every year from Nassau County residents? But, YES, it's a HORRENDOUS DEAL for the people. This deal will incur
NEW DEBT at historic proportions for
county residents. For the County to refinance its debt in a way that will hold its citizenry hostage for 49 years under monopoly conditions by an investment firm that needs to make a profit for its stockholders, is unconscionable.
This deal is another disingenuous way to take money from over-taxed Nassau County residents without calling it a tax. It's a back-door sewer tax hike!
Further, to now spend $197,925 on a study that was already conducted by NIFA less than a year ago by Lamont Financial Services is irresponsibly wasting our tax dollars. It would seem that the only reason the County would want to repeat a study that was already undertaken would be to move forward with requests for proposals to find an investor without ever having to go to the full Legislature for a vote. Basically, by approving this KPMG contract, the County is allowing four people on the Rules Committee to approve a contract that awards a total of $887,568 to find an investor. And the legislators whom we elected to represent us will not have a say on this nearly one million-dollar contract.
CAWS objects to the duplication of this feasibility study, which unilaterally gives the County Executive and four members on the Rules Committee authority to spend almost one million dollars to move forward with its plan to hire an investor to refinance county-wide and sewer debt and give the County a one-shot influx of funds to balance its budget.
CAWS requests that the Nassau County Legislature relook at the Sewer District Preservation Act, which provides that all money paid into the sewer district, stays in the sewer district. If all money that was paid into the sewer district had to stay in the sewer district, then the COUNTY COULD NOT take money from the investor and use it to pay off county-wide debt. It's unfair that the 85% of us living and doing business in the sewer district will see ever-increasing sewer bills to refinance county-wide debt with interest that, of course, benefits ALL OF NASSAU COUNTY.
Further, CAWS is very concerned with the County's recent attempts to pass its responsibilities and obligations onto a private corporation. It's past attempts with our bus system and healthcare at our jail has proven disastrous. Today it's our sewage treatment plants - tomorrow it's our parks and beaches.
Therefore, CAWS respectfully requests that the Nassau County Legislature enact legislation mandating that any sale or lease of an asset over $5 million must come to the public for a vote. Since currently our legislators do not have a say in transactions that will negatively impact their constituents; and since Nassau County is trending toward selling assets owned by the people of Nassau, we strongly urge the Nassau County Legislature to enact legislation with such provisions that require a public referendum to allow the people a voice in what the County does with our assets.
In 2012, when Nassau County first contemplated this back-door borrowing, it was reported in Bloomberg News as the "
THE BIGGEST ONE-SHOT EVER FOR A NEW YORK MUNICIPALITY." NIFA rejected the Morgan Stanley contract then and the Rules Committee should reject this KPMG contract now for the same reason.
Very truly yours,
Claudia Borecky Donald Davidson Dave Denenberg