Lawsuit: Suffolk illegally collected sewer taxes
A lawsuit filed against Suffolk County claims that some taxpayers have been overpaying their sewage taxes for years, with the county illegally collecting more than $250 million.
The lawsuit claims that residents in the southwest sewage district were overcharged on their taxes to pay for debts that were already paid off.
Attorney Paul Sabatino says residents in the district have been paying the tab for the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant and other improvements for decades. He says all the bonds were paid off in 2009. However, taxpayers continued to pay high sewer rates that included money to pay off the non-existent debt.
"$30 million, $40 million per year is accumulating and they're not spending it on something else. They're just hording it," says Sabatino. He says each household in the district is owed $3,200.
Suffolk County Deputy Executive Jon Schneider says the county put all that extra money in a dedicated southwest sewer district fund to help pay for future projects. He says keeping the money in the fund and paying cash for projects saves taxpayers millions in interest if the county had to borrow the money.
"Knowing that the money is in the fund let us make sure that we continue to make smart decisions," says Schneider.
A judge is expected to hear more motions in the suit next month. News 12 is told that it could take years before a decision is rendered.