Nassau County Staring At Possible ‘Toilet Tax’

County Executive Mangano Defends Controversial Proposal

Story Updated: Oct. 16, 2010 8:45 a.m.

NORTH MERRICK, N.Y. (CBS 2) — A proposed tax on sewer usage by non-profits such as hospitals, colleges, and fire departments could bring in $38 million a year.

But as CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reports, taxpayers worry they will now be stuck paying for it all.

Critics call the sewer fee — a “toilet tax” in Nassau County. Next year’s budget — for the first time — calls for previously tax-exempt public school districts, library districts and fire districts to increase their budgets, raise taxes, and, they fear, pass along the financial burden to taxpayers.

“It is being called taxpayer relief act when actually all we are doing is soaking the taxpayers with a toilet tax or sewer fee,” said Nassau County legislator Dave Denenberg, D-Merrick.

Democrats in the legislature are blasting the Republican county executive’s proposed “water usage fee”– that would charge one penny per gallon of water entering Nassau’s sewage system. They claim it would bankrupt hospitals, schools and more.

“We have 10 buildings and we have an irrigation system on our football and athletic fields. What would it mean in dollars and cents? Over a quarter of a million dollars,” said Hempstead School Board president Charles Renfroe.

Renfroe said water is needed for school toilets, sinks, showers and landscaping. A North Merrick fire house uses 700,000 gallons a year, translating to $7,000 in fees. Libraries, too, are worried.

“We have to either raise taxes to get that money, libraries would have to, or they have to cut programs to get the money,” said Jackie Thresher of the Nassau library system.

But the county executive said his sewer reforms would eventually lower rates for homeowners and businesses.

“I inherited a sewer district authority that’s $28 million out of balance. Nowhere else in New York state do not-for-profits get a free ride,” County Executive Ed Mangano said.

Critics said “passing along” taxes does not “freeze” taxes. A public hearing on the water usage fee will be held Monday.

If the budget is passed, the new sewer fees would go into effect in Nassau County beginning July 1, 2011.


One Comment

  1. Neo says:

    Austin TX- low tax by some standards, modestly demanding regarding utility payments and environmental issues, has long charged a waste water fee based on average monthly water usage. Thus periods of high lawn irrigation would not count towards sewage flow. Nobody has died here, nothing has closed down, Austin hasn’t gone communist. The fee pays for upgraded wastewater treatment and is another reminder that the use of water, at whatever stage, does have real costs.

    I think this thread of rants and comments is interesting owing to the fact that New Yorkers are among the most taxed among us all. How would you know, why should you care, if they take one more pinch? It seems NYers have let Albany and everyone else loot their pockets for years.

  2. herdzcatz says:

    Shocking! I agree with the Democrats on this one! That Republican is no Ronald Reagan, that’s for sure! Shame on him!

  3. Mike711 says:

    Are you folks on a sewer system? Do you pay fees? That’s all that this is about. These folks are on the system and they don’t pay … that means everyone else pays more (either through higher fees or tax subsidies). It is, in a worst case, a shuffling … and usage taxes help people to see the real cost of things (ie: free public schools generally cost $15K to $25K per student per year … more than most private schools, but since the taxPayers pay the bill, everyone thinks they’re free). I’m a Ron Paul guy who would eliminate the FED and the IRS … but this is simply saying that these folks have to pay for what they are using like everyone else.

    1. rob says:

      wake up. I live where there is a sewer tax. and after getting people to accept that, they quickly added people on private well/septic systems for not pulling their weight.
      And then come the exemptions for special friends
      It ALWAYS ends this way with progressives.
      Stop them, STOP THEM NOW
      So if they tax you for the water system. Exactly what services are you getting for paying property taxes?

  4. RM says:

    Keep voting in the liberal dimwits until you choke on it and it looks like that time is fast approaching. How about DEMANDING ROLLBACKS ON EVERYTHING? The two liberal bastions NY and California are broke because buying votes is so expensive these days. ….yeah keep voting for spineless pandering liberals.

  5. Sander says:

    What do you think Cap and Trade is all about. Taxing carbon dioxide.. which is what you exhale.

  6. David Constitutional Libertarian says:

    So, a Repub or should I say a RINO is all about taxation also. Hmmmm, the Dems and the Repubs are pretty much the same huh?
    I think it is time for some TEA!
    We should begin to put together a platform and forming our own true political party folks.
    The Repugs and the Demoncrats need to be shown the door and term limits installed for all government levels. Also, no unions are allowed in ANY government funded agency or bureaucracy. That HAS to be the main two components. The socialists in these unions and the politicians are destroying this country.

  7. walter12 says:

    This county wouldn’t need to do such an idiotic thing if it was not running its budget on a Marxist/Socialist agenda. Come on people, communism and Marxism has never worked. And by the way, illegal Mexicans in your county cost alot of tax dollars too.

  8. vet451 says:

    We have a “RAIN TAX” in Portland Oregon. It is euphemistically refered to as “surface water management fee” It is currently $9.50 every month

  9. Jeff C says:

    This is the age of dictator Hussein. Your wealth belong to govt — all of it. What ends up in your bank account via payroll is what the govt has allowed you to keep – mercifully.

  10. Matt G. says:

    Why should any organization enjoy free use of a utility that costs serious money to run? I don’t see why this should be the least bit controversial.

  11. astralweeks says:

    For whatever reason, you guys want to be a liberal state run by liberal politicians. This is the kind of thing you get for being a blue state. Enjoy.

  12. gretta says:

    Obama campaign pledge: “Your taxes won’t go up ONE THIN DIME!” :/

    1. Matt G. says:

      WTH does Obama have to do with municipal utility politics? You’re just as full of BS as people who tried to blame everything from 2001-2009 on Bush. Are you really that stupid or are you just a troll?

      1. MadCharles says:

        They’re all democrat policies/scams, blow job

  13. Romeo 33 Delta says:

    George Harrison was right!

  14. icansayit says:

    This is really a step toward everyone paying for RAINFALL levels too! Charge for water flow in sewers??? Who decides what STORM, or SNOWFALL will bring the best TAX collection?
    Forget the TOILET PAPER. Everybody use a bucket, and deliver it to the COURT HOUSE, or CITY HALL. Put a SANITATION WORKER to work

    1. vet451 says:

      We have a “RAIN TAX” in Portland Oregon. It is euphemistically refered to as “surface water management fee” It is currently $9.50 every month

  15. Ellen O'Day says:

    NY, you vote for the Dems this is what you get.

    The only way for the liberals to see sense is to keep taxing them until they break; until they can’t stand it anymore or leave the state.

    Or until they see the folly of their unsupportable ways.

    Tax on!

  16. TrueLiberal says:

    Don’t you silly folks realize that the taxpayer is already paying for the sewer usage? There is a $28 mil shortfall that the taxpayers have to cover. This guy is going to shift the cost to the actual users, even if they are non-profits, just like every other community in NY. This way you can track WHO is using what and then work to have them to be more efficiant in their use. Is economics that confusing to you people?

    1. Taxubus says:

      That’s a great point. And it is one that most of the knee-jerks writing seem to overlook or are ignorant of.

  17. Wakeup60 says:

    Get a 5 gallon Bucket and put a plastic sack or a Walmart sack in it, do you duty, tie the sack off and send it out with the Garbarge…….They will soon get the message

  18. Me says:

    Thank you New York for reminding the rest of America what a Democrat controlled state looks like. You are a shining example.

    1. howard fein says:

      The present outlook for New York is that by 2035 there will be only 2 multibillionaires left staring at each other perched on a sea of welfare recipients.

  19. thegutstotry says:

    Why the controversy? Are the non-profits paying for their own electricity, water and phone service? Why are they exempt from sewage when everyone else is already paying?

  20. steve says:

    hey guys we are already paying a sewer fee, water volume fee, plus the use of the water here in indianapolis indiana. what are you crying about. this is what we get for voting in liberals the last 20 years.

  21. olegunny says:

    There are far too many on the dole. Three is where real saving can be realizied.

  22. Rowdy Boots says:








  23. Mike says:

    Gotta irrigate those football fields! Better yet, remove the grass and install astroturf. Save on watering, maintenance/upkeep, less equipment such as mowers and the cost of their upkeep/fuel, fertilizing, etc. Part of the problem solved. Even better…how about dropping football and all its associated costs and TEACH instead.

    1. steve k says:

      Because Mike, if we love our children, we’ll fund EVERYTHING the school boards tell us to – that makes us GOOD PARENTS…This way they can grow up to be self-absorbed and lazy with an entitlement mentality that will lead to them voting for folks ike Obama…If only people would vote in folks who would vote for the ability to opt-out of school taxes for kids that are home-schooled or go to private school..The public education system would be HISTORY!

  24. silvereagle says:

    You can’t drill a well in the city.Build an outhouse and you don’t have to flush anything.Oh,the epa would be on your ass then.

  25. steve k says:

    No sympathy here from this expatriate of Nassau County…You knuckleheads keep being manipulated into school tax increases where the bulk of the money goes to folks who work 180 days per year and then there’s no money left for essentials, like WATER!

  26. John Harnes says:

    Until taxpayers are willing to kick these fools out of office they should expect legislation that will just keep stealing money out of their pockets. I am amazed how many career politicians grow to control vast wealth by “working full time” in political office where their salaries could never allow them to acquire such wealth. But if you help the right people I guess your future wealth is assured1

  27. Alex says:

    People, read the article carefully before you insert random talking points about big government and this being another step to Marxist hell. It sounds to me more like:

    1. Sewer services have been a big money loser for years, probably in part because non-profits don’t think twice about the sewage costs since they can pass them along
    2. Since they don’t pay, the money has to come from somewhere. You may not have paid yet if the city is running a deficit but you will.
    3. By making this a usage tax, it forces those who use to be the ones who pay.
    4. This in turn should force them to make smarter choices. Like why were we (taxpayers) paying for an irrigation system and the sewage for it if the county is underwater financially.

    Usage taxes can be good, assuming that it’s not just a way to spend (read: waste more). They tie costs to consumption, rather than making all subsidize even if we get no value.

    This should eventually result in lower cost of government since people won’t overuse “free” (to them) services since all of us are paying.

  28. Jack Kennedy says:

    repub is having to clean up after the dems ………… signs of things to come with obama cleanup by the adults after november

  29. Eyeball says:

    So if you dont pay your doodoo tax, they turn off your toilet? Keep electing those Democrats NY. Your doing everything wrong.

  30. Gunplay_Harris says:

    Why don’t we cut BUREAUCRATS first

  31. SubjectoftheUSSA says:

    uhh firehouses, school boards, since when do Government entities pay taxes…

    Hempstead School Board president Charles Renfroe…. I’d love to know how a school pays taxes, figuring the local taxes are PAYING FOR THE SCHOOL

  32. Happy Gay says:

    Whats the big deal? It’s New York! Tax baby TAX!!!!

  33. twinstick says:

    Just make sure that you flush twice. It’s a long way to Albany…

  34. Barbara says:

    We have had a sewer tax in parts of Massachusetts for years.

    1. tnmccoy says:

      Don’t our town taxes pay for sewer operations? Of course they do. But in Massachusetts they found something else to tax years ago, right?

  35. drwstr123 says:

    The politician’s solution to everything is MORE TAX.

  36. Philip Nolan says:

    Unfortunate choice of words or a bad pun. “…all we are doing is soaking the taxpayers with a toilet tax or sewer fee.”

    1. tnmccoy says:

      They shouldn’t get these lousy ideas. The next thing for them is to actually tax the number of toilets in your house on an ongoing basis. Then sinks….washing machines…dishwashers—hey! There’re a lot of opportunities for fleecing the public yet!

      1. John Schmuke says:

        In Saint Louis, Mo. The sewer tax is according to the number of bathrooms in your house, since almost forever!

  37. phil says:

    This is simply a way for the county to raise your taxes and make the school districts and others do the dirty work of collecting it. Installing separate meters in literally thousands of buildings to see how much is for irrigation will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars more, plus all the costs to maintain them. Typical government operation…

  38. UyeahU says:

    “If you try to sit, they’ll tax your seat”

    The Beatles, “Taxman”

    Who knew?

  39. Rebecca says:

    Water usage fee, sewer tax… Oneida County already has these taxes. Oneida County ranks near the top for the most taxes and lowest income in the COUNTRY. It’s one of the poorest counties in the nation.

    I see that the other NY counties are trying to catch up with raising taxes and lowering income. Good going, Nassau County!

    1. Rowdy Boots says:



  40. LoveitORLeaveit says:

    So you libs are ok with taxing the homeowner but some how believe that non profit org’s should be exempt? Good for the republicans that want to have some justice and tax ALL the residents of this great county equally. No tax shelter for anyone, even if your and alleged government place. Perhaps spreading not only the wealth but the bill you will feel the love.

    1. tnmccoy says:

      Well then, instead of paying $800 for an aspirin in the hospital, patients will now pay $802. That’s how they look at it.

  41. 2 says:

    I am trying to figure out is this an additional charge over the standard fee or just a new charge because the non profits do not pay for sewer. If they do not pay for sewer now it is a bargain. And if they do not pay a sewer charge now it is not free you are all paying for it and there is no reason for them to conserve at any level. By the way the school superintendent needs to understand the process. Commercial customers do not pay for sewer charges for water that does not go into the sewer if there is a meter that shows how much went to irrigation, cooling towers, etc.

  42. Auntie Sammie says:

    Imagine if incompetent teachers didn’t have tenure. They’d be fired too! Like you say, incompetence rises to the top in government.

    Abolish tenure! Abolish unions!

    1. ct says:

      Abolish public schools

  43. tominhouston says:

    Reforms will lower rates and he inherited the problem. Classic Obama clone tell ’em up is down and blame it on somebody else.

  44. UnPCdAmerican says:

    that’s easy! That is the what the whole climate change bs is about…capNtax=they want to tax you on the air you exhale (CO2)

  45. geTaylor says:

    County Executive Ed Mangano is a Republican.
    Refreshing to see both parties are learning new
    ways to skin the taxpayers.

    Ready for a cup of tea?

    1. ct says:

      Agreed, if that is what a republican is in New York, I am glad I am in Florida. Fire them all and get rid of the IRS, FDA, EPA, DOT, FED, DHS, Patriot Act, ETC, ETC, ETC…………………..

      1. harleyrider1978 says:

        Dude,you got it right on the mark……..its time to abolish the federal govmnt……

        As one of my friends says” I FIRED THE GOVERNMENT YEARS AGO”

      2. bravejames says:

        astralweeks, you are so right!!!

    2. John D says:

      Excuse me, but a NY republican is NOT a republican. A real republican is a conservitive. This guy is a RINO

      1. Susan says:

        Oh the RINO is not limited to New York. They can be spotted in every part of the country. The herd needs to be rounded up and sent to pasture. Hopefully a lot of this can be accomplished on 2 November. It will be a long, hard drive so get ready to start vetting them as candidates. You will know them by their deeds.

  46. michael cooper says:

    the next thing is toilet paper tax or bring your own

    1. tnmccoy says:

      I understand that’s already happening in some districts. Put a roll in your backpack!

      1. Rowwdy says:

        Yes it is happening. Many public places, ie: city buildings do not have TP in them.

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