Vote to support the sewers

It’s been a long, hard road that’s led to next Tuesday’s referendum for Mastic, Mastic Beach and Shirley residents and businesses in choosing whether or not they want sewers.

If residents and business owners vote yes, a sewer district will be established and construction can begin on Phases 1 and 2, for those east of Mastic Road to the Forge River north of Riverside Avenue, all the way north to Montauk Highway, and then stretching west along Montauk Highway into Shirley, almost to William Floyd Parkway.

Our waterways have been decimated over the years, compounded by pesticides, continuous development and the leaching of cesspools, but in particular, the Forge River, which really got in trouble from the overloaded sewage that flowed from duck farms.

We can’t have it both ways. Great quality of life and pristine waters without a responsible strategy, including pulling back on pesticides and fertilizers, which add to the nitrogen load, but also a system that cleans sewage before it hits the water, are both imperative.

Fish are dying because they can’t breathe, other animals are dying and we, in fact, are at risk when we turn our backs on significant environmental solutions.

We’re not being cavalier about costs; single-family homeowners will have to pay about $470 a year and there is no residential connection fee. The annual cost to the homeowner of a single-family property is estimated at $470 a year ($356 for annual operating and maintenance, $114 to pay for the loan for the system-design engineering costs); there’s no residential connection fee. Commercial property owners who choose to hook up would pay according to size and water use of their business; those costs can start at approximately $20,000.

But in a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce of the Mastics and Shirley at the Mastic Ambulance Company Monday night, officials announced that small businesses would be eligible for $250,000 in grant money, if they signed up for it right away. Bridgehamption National Bank has agreed to give small interest loans to help with funding and state Sen. Monica Martinez (D-NY) offered additional help from the state, although a targeted amount wasn’t available at press time.

It will mean some sacrifice, but it will be worth it. Please, make yourself available on Jan. 22. Go to the Mastic Fire House at 1080 Mastic Road in Mastic. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.

And vote yes.

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