NORTHPORT - After a three-year fight, a deal is in place to reclaim millions of dollars intended to preserve open spaces and protect Suffolk County’s drinking water.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone joined with environmentalists Wednesday to announce an agreement to restore $29.4 million to the county's Drinking Water Protection Plan.
Environmentalists say the money was taken from the voter-approved water fund three years ago to help balance the budget. The issue has been in court ever since.
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Bellone also says he wants taxpayers to decide how the funds will be spent. He announced his support to put the decision on a referendum for voters in November.
Environmentalists say the former administration under Steve Levy originally took that money out of the fund in 2011. Levy told News 12 that the money was used strictly for sewer stabilization, and he says he stands by that decision.
A public hearing on the proposed referendum is scheduled for June 17.