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Long Island News

Suffolk County Must Repay Diverted Funds, Judge Rules

Courtesy of the Suffolk County Legislature

A New York state judge has ordered Suffolk County to immediately pay back $30 million it diverted from a fund that was supposed to lower sewer taxes. 

The sewer fund money was collected through a quarter-cent sales tax that voters approved by referendum back in 1987. The county took $30 million from that fund in 2011 and used it to balance the budget instead. 

Paul Sabatino represents the Pine Barrens Society, which sued the county. 

He says the county transferred the money illegally because voters had specifically approved it for the sewer fund. 

“If politicians ignore that and just say, ‘No, we’re going to do whatever the heck we want with that money,’ there has to be consequences.” 

A county spokesperson told Newsday that “monies have already been spent on environmental projects,” and said it’s “an attempt to double-bill taxpayers.” 

Suffolk County did not respond to WSHU’s request for comment.