The Point

The Suffolk County Legislature in Hauppauge. Credit: Rick Kopstein

Daily Point

GOP calculations hold up project to reduce water pollution

When a long-in-the-works plan to reduce nitrogen pollution in Suffolk County’s ground and surface waters came to an abrupt halt recently in the county legislature, the major criticism voiced by Republicans who blocked it was that the initiative contained too much money to help individual homeowners replace failing septic systems and not enough for sewers.

The real roadblock, numerous sources tell The Point, is pure politics.


At issue is a measure passed by the State Legislature to put a referendum on the November ballot asking Suffolk voters to approve a .125% sales tax increase to fund the wastewater treatment plan. But the county legislature must vote first to put the proposal on the ballot — in a year in which all 18 legislative seats are also up for grabs.

“The Conservative Party does not want an environmental referendum on the ballot because they think that will work against reelecting Republicans in marginal districts,” one political insider said.

Insiders point to three first-time legislators who defeated Democrats in 2021 — Dominick Thorne, who beat then-presiding officer Robert Calarco in the 7th district; Manuel Esteban, who nipped Susan Berland in the 16th; and Stephanie Bontempi, who defeated Mark Cuthbertson in the 18th. The GOP also is eyeing two other seats where Democrats are not running for reelection — Al Krupski in the 1st and Bridget Fleming in the 2nd. And Democrat Sarah Anker, who squeaked out a 2021 win in a ballot recount in the 6th district, is term-limited.

“The Republicans correctly believe they are well-positioned for this November election and don’t want this on the ballot,” a source said of the referendum.

“They don’t want to do anything that brings out a potential Democratic vote that may hurt their chances to continue and maintain a majority,” another observer added.

To our loyal Point readers:

Please support our efforts to bring you the latest inside information on politics and public policy. Become a Newsday subscriber now.

Subscribe for $1

While Republican hopes of increasing their majority are buoyed by the red wave that swept Suffolk in particular last November, those results also call into question the validity of their argument about the referendum.

Republican Lee Zeldin easily won the governor’s race in Suffolk with more than 58% of the vote, even as a $4 billion state environmental bond act gained passage with nearly 64% approval. That would seem to belie the theory that environmental initiatives inspire party-line voting.

But in Suffolk’s long history of political wars, logic often is a casualty.

— Michael Dobie

Pencil Point


No we can't

Credit: Plante

For more cartoons, visit

Final Point

Matinecock begins — for real

It only took 45 years.

Finally, Matinecock Court — the East Northport affordable housing development long associated with the region’s intransigence and inability to build — is truly underway.

The financing has closed. The first of 17 buildings is under construction. If all goes well, two years from now, residents will be moving into 146 units at the corner of Elwood and Pulaski roads.

The last piece of the puzzle to fall into place was the money, much of which is coming, in one form or another, from New York State. Through low-interest loans, bonds and tax credits, the state is providing $87.8 million of the $97.8 million project. State officials and developer Peter G. Florey closed on the financing arrangement late last month.

Gov. Kathy Hochul had focused her attention on zoning and local governments when developing her proposed Housing Compact earlier this year — a plan that ultimately failed to come to fruition. But an analysis of financing for Matinecock Court and the lengthy process to get to closing illustrate yet another complexity in the process of building affordable housing in New York — one that has little to do with local zoning or other approvals.

The largest chunk of funding came via $32.8 million in federal tax credits, allocated by the state to the project. Then, the state provided $30.4 million in New Construction Program low-interest loans. Another $18.3 million came via state Housing Finance Agency bonds.

Smaller low-interest loans came from Empire State Development ($1 million) and the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities ($1.7 million). The state also provided Matinecock Court with $3.6 million in state tax credits.

Suffolk County did its part, too, providing loans worth $4.2 million. The leftover $5.8 million is a deferred fee paid over time by Florey and his firm, D & F Development Group.

In return for all of that assistance, Matinecock Court will provide one-, two- and three-bedroom units, in the form of limited equity cooperatives, with maintenance fees starting at $1,206 a month, lower than many current affordable projects. Eight units will be designated for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The limited equity cooperative model is a form of ownership that allows residents to purchase shares in the cooperative development, while avoiding a mortgage, down payments, closing costs and other barriers to entry. The project will be geared to those earning anywhere between 50% and 80% of area median income, with incomes ranging from $53,900 to $123,120.

Florey told The Point the extensive array of financing shows just how much is involved in bringing such projects to fruition.

“The state is a critical component to this process,” Florey said. “Without their involvement, we wouldn’t even be able to think about funding or financing this type of housing. They are essential.”

— Randi F. Marshall


Become a Newsday subscriber to keep reading

The Point is for Newsday subscribers.

How are we doing?
We’re always looking for ways to make newsletters better for you, and would love your feedback on how The Point could be improved. Email your thoughts, suggestions, or complaints to:
View this email in your browser
Copyright © 2023 Newsday. All rights reserved.
Newsday, 6 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, NY 11747
You can safely unsubscribe from the mailing list for The Point. To opt out of other newsletters and promotional emails from Newsday, visit our newsletters and email management page to manage your settings.
Read Paper Privacy Policy