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Letter: Setting the Record Straight

I recently attended the debate between 17th Legislative District candidates Rose Marie Walker and Arshad Majid at the Sterling Catering Hall in Bethpage and felt compelled to set the record straight.

During the debate, special districts and taxes were questioned and while Mr. Majid was well spoken, he was seriously misinformed and provided incorrect data to the many residents in attendance, so I want to set the record straight:

Mr. Majid had stated several times that the high costs of special districts have caused property taxes to rise faster than our ability to pay for them. The fact is the true Special Districts in the 17th Legislative District are fire and water with the exception of a single sanitation district in Syosset. And they represent a cost that is less than 5 percent of all property taxes paid by those residents.

During the debate it was stated that that residents in the 17th Legislative District have had their tax rise 45 percent and that residents in the Town of Oyster Bay pay more for their taxes than that of Nassau County. The fact is 66 percent of all property tax goes to local school districts, 18 percent goes to the county, 12 percent toward the town taxes and again the remaining 4 percent towards an all-volunteer fire service and clean potable water. Additionally, a review of my tax bills over the last five years did not show the 45 percent tax increase as mentioned by Mr. Majid.

Mr. Majid has taken the position that the high cost of special districts has forced recent graduates to leave their families and move off Long Island to live elsewhere and has devastated seniors living on fixed incomes. This is nothing but the truth and a scare tactic against our children and seniors. For less than a dollar each day, our seniors, children and all residents are afforded the best fire protection in New York State and are provided with clean potable water at the cost 10 percent less than the rest of the United States.

What does Mr. Majid suggest?

Paying a fire service? Creating a water authority? No one really knows, but according to an independent study, creating a paid service in the 17th Legislative District will increase taxes by over 30 percent. Can you afford that?

How about consolidating or eliminating your water district? The creation of a water authority would not look much different than what is already in place with your local water district. Except for the lack of customer service, does anyone believe that the response would be the same; just take one good look at the MTA, LIRR or LIPA. Would you sacrifice the service and response for $10?

Many residents I have spoken with over the last several months and since the debate realize that there is so much more to special districts than what is being portrayed by those looking for political gain. However, I felt it was necessary to set the record straight.

Retain your volunteer fire service and keep your local water district by voting for Rose Marie Walker as the next legislator of Nassau’s 17th District.

Karl Schweitzer

(Editor’s Note: Karl Schweitzer is president of the Long Island Special Districts Association and chairman of the Hicksville Water District.)