Legislator Al Krupski, whose district includes Riverhead, Southold and parts of Brookhaven Town, has sponsored a bill which enables and directs the Department of Economic Development and Planning to move forward with updating a parcel list from an old drinking water protection program designed to preserve environmentally sensitive parcels.
The program, first created by Suffolk County in 1987 and which is part of a revenue sharing program funded by the 1⁄4% sales tax, was broken into two separate programs. The first, with $2,382,841 remaining, was earmarked for specific parcels that were chosen in collaboration with five of the county's ten towns: Brookhaven, East Hampton, Riverhead, Southampton and Southold. The bill directs the Planning Department to reach out to the aforementioned towns within 45 days to determine what parcels are still available for preservation and report back to the legislature their findings within 60 days, enabling Suffolk County to pursue preservation of some of the parcels on the list.
The second fund, with $2,451,907 remaining, can be used for open space acquisitions in the towns of Islip, Shelter Island, Huntington, and for Babylon where the bulk of the monies are earmarked. Smithtown had exhausted their share of the funding. Monies can also be utilized for remediating toxic or hazardous waste sites.
The old drinking water protection money was discovered by Legislator Krupski after careful review of this year's operating budget report issued by the Legislature's Budget Review Office. According to Legislator Krupski "discovering this money was a nice surprise and it will enable the county work with the towns to preserve more sensitive lands throughout the county." The legislation was adopted by the Suffolk County Legislature at their March 4, 2014 General Meeting and will go into effect once signed by the County Executive.