Voters Overwhelmingly Approve Bellone Initiatives
More than 60 Percent Approve Historic Consolidation, Clean Water Referendum Passes 2 to 1
(HAUPPAUGE, NY November 5, 2014)—County Executive Steve Bellone applauded Suffolk voters yesterday for overwhelmingly approving two good government referenda to protect taxpayers. Proposition 4, which will merge the offices of Comptroller and Treasurer passed with more than 61 percent of the vote while Proposition 5 which provides additional clean water resources and budget flexibility passed with nearly 66 percent.
“I am eager to take my ideas directly to Suffolk County taxpayers,” County Executive Bellone said. “I trust Suffolk County taxpayers to support common sense ideas to make government more efficient.”
Proposition 4 is a historic government reform plan which has been debated in Suffolk County for decades to finally merge the offices of County Comptroller and Treasurer. Beginning in 2018, Suffolk County will cease to be the only county out of 62 in New York State with an independently elected Treasurer and Comptroller.
The consolidation is estimated to save $1.29 million in just the first two years by eliminating several unnecessary patronage positions. The referendum was introduced by Legislator William Lindsay III.
“The best way to hold the line on taxes is to consolidate where we can in order to improve efficiency and save taxpayer dollars,” County Executive Bellone said.
Proposition 5 will provide additional resources for drinking water protection as well as critical budget flexibility to hold the line on taxes.
The voter-approved referendum will now authorize the County to restore approximately $29.4 million in funds in order to support clean water projects such as expanding sewer systems and installing advanced wastewater treatment systems, as well as purchasing open space for environmental protection. The referendum will also allow the county to move forward with the $46 million sewer infrastructure fund, which will help to reduce nitrogen pollution and restore coastal vegetation along the County’s shorelines. It also allows Suffolk County to borrow from an historic surplus in the Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund in order to hold the line on taxes.
It also resolves a dispute over the Drinking Water Protection Program by affirming that only Suffolk County voters can amend the allocation of funds in the program. Bellone worked together with the environmental community to support this referendum.
“Passage of Proposition 5 is another major step forward to protect Suffolk County’s water quality as well as Suffolk County taxpayers,” County Executive Bellone said. “Voters originally created the Drinking Water Protection Program, and I support their right to determine how these funds should be utilized going forward. This is another great example of how effective county government can be as our elected leaders, environmental experts and the public came together to take action in the best interest of our communities and our future.”