The recently created Water Authority of North Shore (WANS) and the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) have entered into a two-year agreement under which SCWA will provide a broad range of staff services as WANS pursues the acquisition of water facilities in the WANS Sea Cliff water district from Liberty Utilities.
The agreement, which went into effect on September 1 and extends through the end of August 2024, provides WANS with SCWA assistance in the legal, financial, information technology, risk management, human resources and administrative fields, among others. SCWA in return will receive an annual administrative fee of 5% of each annual budget appropriation or other legislation allocated to WANS by the state.
Both the SCWA Board and WANS Board, which consists of six volunteer members appointed by the local governments representing impacted residents including the Town of Oyster Bay, the City of Glen Cove, and the villages of Sea Cliff, Roslyn Harbor and Old Brookville, touted the agreement as the best move forward for the new authority.
“This cooperative agreement is the perfect scenario for the Water Authority of North Shore as we pursue the municipalization of Liberty New York Water’s Sea Cliff operations district,” said WANS Board Member George Pombar of Glen Head.
“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,” said WANS Board Member James W. Versocki of Sea Cliff.
“SCWA is one of the best run not-for-profit public water suppliers in New York and the nation,” said SCWA Chairman Patrick Halpin. “High quality, affordable public drinking water is a right. Water should not be taxed and sold for profit. We will be sharing our deep expertise and best practices with the WANS. This is a smart and cost-effective decision as their board starts the work to establish a new public, not-for-profit water authority for the North Shore communities of Nassau County.”
“What we want to accomplish in establishing the Water Authority of North Shore is precisely what SCWA staff members are able to offer, and we couldn’t be happier to enter an agreement that works for all parties and helps our communities negotiate the best deal with Liberty,” said WANS Board Member James Greenberg of Glen Cove.
Similar administrative agreements are not new to SCWA. In the mid-1990s, shortly after the establishment of New York State’s Central Pine Barrens Joint Planning and Policy Commission, SCWA stepped in to provide the new commission with an administrative foundation for its employees. That agreement is still in place today.