Anger over water bills comes to a boil in Nassau communities

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GLEN HEAD -

Anger over sky-high water bills is reaching a boiling point in a group of communities along Nassau's North Shore, and some residents are pressing for change.

Glen Head and Sea Cliff residents are served by New York American Water. The private water company recently hiked customers’ bills, saying it had to pass along higher property tax costs.

Customers like Glen Head resident Agatha Nadel say it added up to eye-popping bills. "When I got that $706 bill for one month last summer, I went ballistic," she says.

New York American Water says it tried to get its taxes reduced. It said in a statement, "Property tax expenses still represent more than 50 percent of customer water charges in this operating area – more than any other district the company serves."

But many residents are not satisfied with the explanation.

"The dialogue has been that the problem has been property taxes. I disagree -- the problem is greed," says Bruce Kennedy. He's started a group to explore purchasing the water system from New York American and creating a municipal water authority in the area.

The cost could be in the tens of millions of dollars. Kennedy says it could be paid for by municipal bonds, and says the end result would be lower water bills.

It seems like a tall task, but forming a municipal water authority on Long Island isn't a new thing. Kennedy notes it was done in Great Neck 20 years ago.

State Sen. Carl Marcellino is sponsoring a bill in Albany to fund a feasibility study for the municipal water system. He tells News 12, "The public outcry has been loud and justified… Our No. 1 goal is protecting the ratepayer."

Customers like Nadel say something has to change."Come hell or high water, we are going to fight," she says.

Marcellino's bill is currently in committee in Albany. He says he hopes to get it passed by legislators by June.

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