The Water Authority of North Shore has partnered with the Suffolk County Water Authority for the next two years.
The agreement, which went into effect Sept. 1, gives the North Shore authority access to assistance from its Suffolk counterpart in a wide range of fields as WANS continues its mission to acquire the water facilities in the Sea Cliff Water District from Liberty Utilities.
According to a Water Authority of North Shore news release, the assistance comes in numerous forms, from legal and financial aid to risk management and information technology, including the designing of the WANS website. In return, the Suffolk County Water Authority will receive an annual administrative fee of 5 percent of each annual budget appropriation or other funds the North Shore receives.
Members of both boards supported the move, citing their shared commitment to providing clean and affordable water to their communities.
“We are thrilled to get the expert services and institutional knowledge of SCWA staff as we take our first steps as an authority to municipalize the Sea Cliff Water District,” James W. Versocki, WANS board member for Sea Cliff, stated in the news release.
The Suffolk County Water Authority has experience and knowledge it can offer to the burgeoning board of the Water Authority of North Shore. SCWA has been operating since 1951, and currently serves approximately 1.2 million Suffolk County residents.
“Our staff at SCWA is among the leaders in the country in their respective fields,” the authority’s chairman, Patrick Halpin, said. “It’s very gratifying to be asked to provide the expertise they’ve accumulated in running our operation to a new entity looking for a model to follow.”
The Suffolk County Water Authority operates without taxing power on a nonprofit basis. The Water Authority of North Shore was founded with the stated goal of providing high-quality and affordable water to the community, making this not just a business match, but an ideological one as well.
Community members who attended the Sept. 1 meeting where the partnership was announced agreed there was plenty to like about the concept highlighting Suffolk County Water Authority’s years of experience and expertise to offer North Shore.
Agatha Nadel, of Glen Head, a founding member of North Shore Concerned Citizens and an early leader in the fight for water quality, said the move marked a step in the right direction for the new water authority.
“I’m really very excited. I think it’s a huge step forward for us,” Nadel said. “Suffolk County Water Authority, from what they were telling us, has been very positive, very professional, and genuinely interested in helping us.”
Her husband Lloyd agreed and believes in the benefits of partnering with Suffolk offered.
“I think it’s a good decision because Suffolk County Water Authority is certainly the biggest and probably the best qualified water company on Long Island,” Lloyd Nadel said. “So I think utilizing their experience is the best choice.”
The attendees also said the agreement will help the Water Authority of North Shore meet its goals for the timeline that has been set as part of the agreement with Liberty Utilities. Some goals include passing equipment inspections, and generally proving the authority is competent enough to service the Sea Cliff Water District.
Kathy Vetter, of Glen Head, said she believes the deal would helps WANS stay ahead of the curve, as the Suffolk County Water Authority will be providing technical as well as administrative advice.
“I thought asking the Suffolk Water Company to be like a mentor was a great idea,” Vetter said. “It’s really important that we stick to this timeline, and they’ll be a big help for us.”