6, 2012 9:56 PM Brookhaven town Supervisor Mark
Lesko recently visited Newsday to talk to reporters
Sophia Chang and Patrick Whittle and a group of
editors about issues and developments in the town.
Here are excerpts..
On the future of the Carmans
River protection plan:
"The opponents of the original proposed plan on my
town board, they don't seem themselves to have an
alternative plan . . . my colleagues stopped the
process from even starting.".
On why the original Carmans
River plan was withdrawn:
"In the postmortem of all of this, where I think the
train went off the tracks is when you brought in the
affordable housing piece into the mix, then we
really saw the worst of Brookhaven . . . Many
references to 'those people' when talking about
affordable housing . . . There's a racial component
to this. And once the discussion became about that,
I think the whole plan was in trouble.".
On his push to expand the
"Our main revenue source is the landfill . . . I
feel obligated to protect that resource from a
fiscal standpoint. The residents who live near the
landfill, it's an unpleasant thing to live near. I
get that . . . we need to view our landfill as a
regional asset, which it really is . . . So what
I've asked for is to start a long-term study of
waste management issues generally, with a particular
focus on the landfill . . . The thing right now
we're up against: Do we do a short-term, relatively
modest expansion of the landfill vertically to take
in more material? . . . Those residents (near the
landfill) are taxpayers and they're paying taxes to
the town. We represent them. So we can't be callous
about the impacts on their quality of life.".
On Accelerate Long Island's
potential to transform the region:
"I think it's the key to our economic future on Long
Island . . . So we need to get to a place where we
make things again, sell them elsewhere, take other
people's money and bring it to our local economy . .
. We have some of the most highly educated people in
the world who live on Long Island . . . It's that
entrepreneurial talent that we're missing.".
On the plan to privatize some
town services: "The bottom line is it's not just the
town, all the levels of government are moving toward
public-private partnerships. . . . With dwindling
revenues you don't have the funding that allows
government to provide these services . . . My view
is you try to continue to provide the services . . .
I'm a big believer in letting the market tell us
what can work and what can't.".
On the Ronkonkoma Hub
"It's one of those projects where the stars seem to
be aligned . . . The obstacle is we need a sewage
treatment plant. Without that, nothing else happens
. . . The town doesn't own any property . . . So
you've got to do mass acquisitions. It's costly . .
. And so what we're trying to do on the governmental
side [is] provide the funding or at least the
mechanism for funding for the sewage treatment plant
. . . The thing that we're all trying to impress
upon people [is] I have probably $300 million of
private investment, stacked against $25 million in
public investment for sewer infrastructure. That
type of leverage, that type of payback . . . you
can't get a better investment.".
On the possibility of
eminent domain to acquire property for the Hub:
"I think you can't take it off the table . . . It
all really depends on the developers and we've got
good ones, so my hope is that we can do this
privately. If they can't, like I said, we can't take
eminent domain off the table. "