ICYMI: Digital Boards deliberate for New York American Water Examine

ALBANY, NY – Three virtual public forums are slated for this month to gather comments on the possibility of a public takeover of the private water company, Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office said in a press release Tuesday.

The forums are scheduled for the Sea Cliff area on Tuesday, February 23rd at 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, February 24, for the East Massapequa area; and Thursday, February 25 for the southwest Nassau County area. Cuomo engaged Rory Lancman, Special Advisor for the Protection of Interest Payers, of the Department of Public Service, to complete the feasibility study for the municipalization by April 1.

The move comes as the department is considering the utility’s $ 600 million sale to another privately held company, Liberty Utilities Co. in Canada, in what has “strong local interest in exploring options for a possible public takeover of the system “said Cuomo’s office.

The utility services homes along the south coast from East Rockaway to Seaford as well as Sea Cliff, Glenhead, Glenwood Landing on the north coast and parts of Massapequa, Massapequa Park, Levittown, Hempstead, Old Brookville, Oyster Bay and Glen Cove and Roslyn Harbor.

Several communities, including Sea Cliff and Massapequa, have stated, according to his office, that it is feasible to take over parts of New York’s American water system. Just last week, Hempstead City officials called for a publicly funded takeover, but the idea was abandoned by Lancman.

Cuomo said the utility’s customers “have been wrongly faced with the ongoing threat of rising rates” for too long.

“Access to running water is a fundamental human right, and New York State has made an extensive effort to thoroughly investigate all available options to lower customer costs for this important resource, including a public acquisition of New York American Water,” said he “These public forums will better inform our decisions as we advance this process and work to ensure that Long Island residents have access to clean, safe and affordable water.”

Lancman said the forums would give interest payers an opportunity to voice their concerns and share ideas on how to improve water supplies so that the state can “make an informed decision” over the long term.

John Rhodes, chief executive officer of the Department of Public Service, described the forums as “an essential next step in finding solutions” to critical customer concerns. “Lowering the cost of good, safe water is paramount to New Yorkers, and the Department must use every available tool to do that,” he said.

Registration details for the public forums can be obtained by visiting the Public Service Department Documents section at www.dps.ny.gov and entering the case number 20-W-0102 in the input box labeled Search for Case / Matter number.

Alex Costello contributed additional accounts to this story.

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