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Suffolk Notebook: Bellone Gets Official Nod, Police Get Service Awards

Additonally, GOP mum on nomination for county exec, and County Executive Steve Levy announces 10-year sewer project.

This week saw only a few legislature committees meet, though there is always something else going on in the county. Take a look.

Democrats Nominate Bellone to Lead Ticket this Fall

Suffolk County Democrats named their slate of candidates on Wednesday night, leading unexpectedly with Babylon Supervisor Steve Bellone as the party's choice for county executive. 

Bellone touted his record of improving the parks system and environmental regulations in Babylon. He called parks an "economic development tool" and pointed to anecdotes with realtors glowing about the local parks as an illustration of the value they can have on a town's tax base.

He continued to avoid calling sitting County Executive Steve Levy by name, though once again stated he will not "govern by press release," a reference to long targeted releases Levy's press office puts out from time to time.

On the other side of the ticket, Suffolk County Republican Chairman John Jay LaValle said early in the week that no candidate had been finalized, and a call to Republican headquarters on Friday confirmed that status. 

Suffolk County Conservatives have yet to nominate a candidate as well; Chairman Ed Walsh said, "we're still trying to wrap things up."

Suffolk County Police Honor Nearly 70 Cops at Annual Award Ceremony

Suffolk Police held its at Suffolk County Community College in Brentwood. The department honored nearly 70 members for exceptional service and honored three civilians as well who acted heroically in the past year. 

Matthew DeMatteo received the Meritorious Police Service Award for rescuing an 11-year old girl who fell into Great South Bay in January. 

Lieutenant Richard Ullrich and Sergeant John Cerato received the Exceptional Police Service Award, and Huntington Station resident Christopher Manganello was awarded the Public Service Award.

Levy Unveils Sewer Upgrade Plan

County Executive Levy announced a sewer upgrade plan on Friday, calling it a  "landmark agreement that will provide economic growth, environmental protection and tax stability, including maintaining the rate cap for existing sewer customers.”

Levy's proposal, which he plans on filing next week with the county Legislature, will keep steady the county's Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund, meant to offset sewer rates, at $140 million over the next 10 years. In the meantime, the surplus from those funds – generated through a quarter-cent sales tax – will benefit new sewer jobs throughout the county. The locations of the jobs would be chosen at the discretion of the county Legislature.

The measure is a bipartisan effort, having earned the support of both Republican legislators and one Democrat, Lou D'Amaro, D-Huntington Station.

“For years we have recognized that sewers are the key to economic growth, which is key to controlling people’s property taxes, and that sewers are essential to protecting our groundwater and our bays and waterways," said Levy. "But we have lacked the recurring source of funds to encourage sewer construction and expansion."

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