Authors Posts by Raymond Janis

Raymond Janis


Suffolk County Water Authority officials say Advanced Oxidation Process systems, such as those seen above, will help flush out 1,4-dioxane and other emerging contaminants from local drinking water. Photo courtesy SCWA

By Raymond Janis

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In a secluded residential block on Northport’s McKinney Avenue lies an advanced water treatment center masquerading as a barn.

At this site, representatives from the Suffolk County Water Authority joined state and local public officials for a press event on Thursday, Aug. 24, announcing eight new high-tech water filtration systems for local drinking water.

THIS IS NOT A BARN: The exterior of the SCWA’s new state-of-the-art water treatment plant. Photo courtesy Suffolk County Water Authority

Charlie Lefkowitz, chairman of the SCWA Board, said the eight systems employ Advanced Oxidation Process, or AOP, technologies capable of treating and removing emerging contaminants — such as 1,4-dioxane — from the groundwater.

“I’m always asked by the media what is our biggest threat,” he said. “Aging infrastructure and emerging contaminants,” both of which are areas addressed through the AOP systems.

The SCWA Board chairman also noted the measures taken to comport this industrial complex with the surrounding area.

“Just look at the historical character of this building,” Lefkowitz said. “It doesn’t look like your normal commercial building throughout Suffolk County.”

He added, “This is a great moment for water treatment overall, for the Huntington community as well as every resident of Suffolk County.”

New York State Sen. Mario Mattera (R-St. James), who has previously served on the SCWA Board, emphasized the continual need to invest in and develop aging water treatment systems.

He pointed to the recently passed $4.2 billion New York State Environmental Bond Act [see page A12] as a potential funding source to keep this infrastructure up to date.

“We want to make sure that we received our fair share,” the state senator said. “Clean air, clean water and green jobs — that is so important that we receive the money.”

New York State Assemblyman Steve Stern (D-Dix Hills) also attended the event. He detailed the lifespan of the process from its planning stages to its completion.

“It’s very special when you get to see something that goes from some blueprints and some pipes to a plan and watching it through the policy effort to ultimately being able to make it happen and cut the ribbon,” Stern said.

Town of Huntington Supervisor Ed Smyth (R) tied the announcement to an ongoing local initiative to modernize infrastructure.

“Whether it’s on the highways, the roads or the waterfront, it’s all about infrastructure and maintenance, and I know everybody in the town is pulling in the same direction,” he said. “All you have to do is look around at this state-of-the-art facility to know that this money is well spent.”

Adrienne Esposito, executive director of Citizens Campaign for the Environment, highlighted the various threats against Long Island’s sole-source aquifer, referring to the new treatment center as “a needful clean water victory for the public.”

“1,4-dioxane is a highly toxic chemical,” she noted. “Having Suffolk County Water Authority be an aggressive partner to make sure they’re filtering that water for Suffolk residents is a pleasure, and it’s a gift.”

Despite the eight new treatment systems in Huntington, Lefkowitz suggested the work of SCWA to be “far from done.”

He indicated that the water authority is simultaneously completing nine other AOP systems throughout the county, with hopes to bring these online soon.

By Raymond Janis

Thatch Meadow Farm is a scenic, historic property in St. James tucked away off a dirt path from Harbor Road.

Situated along 18 acres overlooking Stony Brook Harbor, the farm features a massive barn, an 18th-century era mansion, several cottages and farmhouses and a wide assortment of trees, shrubs, plants and other natural greenery.

Supervising this vast estate is Constance “Conky” Nostrand, who inherited the land from her grandmother along with her two sisters, both now deceased.

Following the death of her mother when she was a teenager, Nostrand moved to Manhattan to live with her father. She said Central Park “saved her life” during those years, its open space “what made Manhattan work for me.”

Now, as she walked the land which has been in her family all her life, the sole inheritor of this estate defined her life’s mission.

“My job is to save this property,” she said. “It’s my savior. It has saved me my entire life, and it’s the only thing that brings me such peace and happiness and serenity.”

Preservation pitfalls

Nostrand expressed fears that such open spaces throughout Long Island could soon be wiped out — paved over and developed.

“My vision is that eventually Long Island is going to look like Manhattan Island,” she said. “Everything is going to be concrete and gridlocked and sectioned off into squares of asphalt.”

She viewed the general trends taking place both locally and globally as moving away from the values of preservation and conservation.

“A lot of people don’t see preservation as it should be seen and the benefits of it — of open space, of quiet space, of land with flowers and trees,” she said. “There’s geese and deer and animals all over the place with butterflies and hummingbirds.”

She added, “It’s because of the nature around us that they’re all here. It’s a sanctuary.”

But maintaining such a space requires continual upkeep and repairs. And while Nostrand, a former child care worker, says her retirement check has not increased, she sees costs skyrocketing everywhere else.

“It’s always going to cost money to fix things, and unfortunately everything is getting more expensive — except my child care retirement salary,” she indicated.

Nostrand also observed how the odds are increasingly stacked against Long Island’s aging population, who she said are having an even harder time staying put:

“I’m not sure how people are supposed to stay in their homes when they get older if they don’t get more money,” adding, “It’s really challenging how your taxes go up, but your income doesn’t go up.”

Conquinox music event

Given the sense of awe and tranquility the land has inspired in her, Nostrand has sought to share her “piece of heaven” with others. She noted the tradition of concert events held along the main lawns throughout the decades. 

“I like to share [the property] with others, which is one of the reasons I used to have these solstice parties,” she said. Through them, “I felt I was making lots of people appreciate this property because nobody sees it — we’re off the beaten path.”

Grappling with a high tax assessment on the property and related maintenance expenses, Nostrand forecasted her next endeavor as an adventure into “a new realm.”

Inspired by wineries along the East End, Thatch Meadow Farm is currently experimenting with transitioning the venue into an entertainment space. “The concept is to use the farm for flowers and music,” she said.

The farm will launch the inaugural Conquinox event on Saturday, Sept. 30. This four-hour concert will feature an all-star lineup, including Bakithi Kumalo’s Graceland Experience.

Reached via Zoom, Kumalo — who is best known for his fretless bass playing on Paul Simon’s famous 1986 “Graceland” album — outlined his deep connection to Long Island and Thatch Meadow Farm.

Kumalo, whose journey began in South Africa, spent nearly three decades living in Stony Brook before moving to Pennsylvania, where he currently resides. He highlighted the value that historic parcels, such as Thatch Meadow, could offer a community.

“A place like that, we need it for educational programs,” he said. “A venue like that can be used … all year round” to educate children about local history, while offering a space for musical performances.

Kumalo suggested that while he had observed many “problems with the system” while growing up in South Africa, music had always offered refuge from the societal ills around him. Now, given the difficulties facing the farm, he regarded the need for music as recurring for Thatch Meadow.

“For the music, you try to stay focused and not get distracted by the outside stuff,” he said. “It’s not about the money. It’s about the support, and I have a great team of people who are going to help me and play this music.”

But, he added, “We can’t do this without the community. Everybody has to pitch in.”

To learn more or purchase tickets for the event, visit

An optimistic outlook

Despite the barriers, Nostrand said she remains committed to the cause for historical preservation of her family’s farm.

“It’s always going to be a struggle, but nothing is easy,” she said. “You have to fight for everything you want, and the fight has to be just,” adding, “There’s nothing more just than saving this property.”

In the face of adversity, she maintained an optimistic outlook. “I’m an optimist,” she said. “I’m going to hope and pray that all good things will happen, and that’s all I can do.”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, chair of the county’s Addiction Advisory Council, speaks during the Aug. 25 press conference. Photo from Steve Bellone’s Flickr page

Suffolk County has taken another step forward in appropriating roughly $200 million in opioid settlement funds.

County officials gathered at the H. Lee Dennison Building in Hauppauge on Friday, Aug. 25, announcing the opening of a second application portal for $20 million in additional funds. The first round of $25 million in settlement payments had concluded earlier this year. [See story, “County picks groups to receive $25M for first round in opioid settlement,” Jan. 20, 2023, TBR News Media website.]

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) referred to this new round of funding as a “significant milestone in our battle and our fight against the opioid epidemic,” coming from a projected $200 million settlement between Suffolk County and various opioid manufacturers, distributors, retailers and other entities that contributed to the scourge of addiction throughout the county. 

Bellone affirmed the county’s “unwavering commitment to address the opioid crisis head-on as well as to provide vital support to combat addiction.” 

The county executive added, “All of us working on this issue understand that it is critical that we spend these dollars as effectively and efficiently as possible, that we are stewards of these dollars.”

From left, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Presiding Officer Kevin McCaffrey, Deputy County Executive Jon Kaiman, President and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island Rebecca Sanin and Deputy County Executive Ryan Attard. Photo from Bellone’s Flickr page

Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst), presiding officer of the county Legislature, reinforced this messaging, noting how the funds received through the settlement are significant in their purpose.

“This money didn’t come at a small cost,” he said. “This is not our money. This belongs to the victims and the families that were affected by this opioid crisis,” adding, “We need to make sure when we make these decisions that we keep in mind that all this money that we are distributing … is used judiciously because it did come at a very high price.”

Minority Leader Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon) encouraged all interested, qualifying organizations to apply for these funds.

“The monies that we’re talking about here will change the lives of families and help put people in the right direction,” he contended. “To any of those organizations that are listening to this conversation — please, please apply.”

County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), chair of the county’s Addiction Advisory Council, outlined the various causes to which these funds will soon be directed, from drug prevention to education services to rehabilitation, among other resource providers.

“All those entities — that are really under the county’s purview — are ready and willing to do more,” she said. “The main word here is ‘resources,’ and that’s pretty much what our panel focuses on — resources that our residents need to fight and combat the epidemic.”

Rebecca Sanin, president and CEO of the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, emphasized the conditions and trends currently happening on the ground throughout the area. She highlighted the collateral damage opioids produce for communities and societies.

“Those losses that addiction accumulates emotionally bankrupts and destroys individual lives, destroys families, destroys communities and leaves vacant unmet potential in a society that is nostalgic and hungry for progress,” Sanin said. “This announcement will mean that lives are saved. It will mean that hope is levied.”

Sharon Richmond, whose son Vincent died from an overdose at 25, described her son as sensitive, funny and intelligent — an aspiring lawyer who sought to stand up for those who couldn’t defend themselves.

“However, once oxycodone became his drug of choice, his dreams and hopes were shattered along with ours,” she said. “No family should ever have to face the tragedy mine had to endure.”

She continued, “No amount of money can ever bring back my son Vincent or the 107,000 human lives lost just last year. However, with these opioid settlement funds, I see hope, and I see life for so many thousands of loved ones.”

The application portal for the $20 million is currently live. It will remain open until close of business on Friday, Sept. 29. 

To apply, please click the following link: and search under “Opioid Grant Application.”

New York State public administrators present on the $4.2 billion Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act. Above, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos. Photo courtesy NYSDEC

New York State officials capped off a statewide listening tour on Thursday, Aug. 24, at Suffolk County Community College to inform the public on expenditures related to the $4.2 billion New York State Clean Water, Clean Air and Green Jobs Environmental Bond Act, passed last year.

Voters statewide passed the Environmental Bond Act via public referendum by 68-32%. Suffolk County residents had upvoted the ballot measure 64-36%.

Community members and public officials from the state to the local levels attended Thursday’s event as senior NYS administrators outlined their plans for dispersing the funds.

Basil Seggos, commissioner of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, offered recent historical context surrounding the bond act money.

The listening tour concludes “amid one of the most impactful summers ever when it comes to climate change,” he said. “I’m old enough in this job to remember when we had an incident or two a season. Now we’re seeing incredible impacts.”

From Canadian wildfire smoke impairing local air quality to rising temperatures to heightened and more intense precipitation events, Seggos maintained the pressing need to use bond act funding to remediate these challenges.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid. Photo courtesy NYSDEC

The bond act funds will focus on four primary categories: climate change mitigation, restoration and fund risk, open space preservation and water quality improvement.

While state agencies are still refining eligibility guidelines, Seggos said the state government aims to direct at least 35%, with a goal of 40% of the funds, to disadvantaged communities.

However, “every community in New York state is eligible” for bond act subsidization, he added.

Suzanna Randall, chief resilience officer at NYSDEC, noted that a significant portion of the bond act funds would support restoration and flood risk, marsh restoration, municipal stormwater infrastructure and other related water infrastructure improvements.

New York State Parks Commissioner Erik Kulleseid outlined how bond act funding would help support and promote Long Island’s parkland and open space. Funding areas include open space conservation, farmland protection and easements, fish hatcheries and other projects.

‘Please, please, please use the survey to give us your ideas, to give us your thoughts on how these dollars should be appropriated.’

— Suzanna Randall

Public feedback needed

Throughout the event, Randall stressed the need for public input on projects that may qualify for bond act funds. “Please, please, please use the survey to give us your ideas, to give us your thoughts on how these dollars should be appropriated,” she said.

Kulleseid also emphasized the importance of public feedback, noting the limited timeframe to gather public comment as the survey expires on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

“We have an online survey tool that will allow you to share ideas and information about projects you may have or the types of projects that we should fund in general,” the NYS park commissioner said. “It’s not an application or a request for proposal but a way to help us learn about the universal projects local governments, community organizations and the public” may require.

To complete the survey of initial project ideas, scan the QR code below. To learn more about the Environmental Bond Act, please visit

The Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees held its biweekly business meeting on Monday, Aug. 21, accompanied by a public hearing to consider adding north- and south-facing stop signs on the west and east sides of Scraggy Hill Road.

Public hearing

Situated at Scraggy Hill Road is the Edna Louise Spear Elementary School. Speed tables currently help to slow traffic around the school.

Village attorney David Moran explained the purpose behind the public hearing, stating that adding or removing all village stop signs requires an amendment to the village code, “and in order to add a stop sign to the village, you have to go through this process.”

During the public hearing, Ray DiBiase, the village’s Planning Board chair and a nationally certified traffic operations engineer, noted the issue of people driving around the speed tables on the roadway. “My first inclination would be to extend those speed tables,” he suggested.

Several neighbors turned out Monday night, shedding light on the situation. Stella Cohen reported that village stop signs are routinely disregarded and that the issue could only be resolved with adequate traffic enforcement.

“I have no objection to this motion whatsoever, but it’s paying lip service to a problem you’re not going to fix with a stop sign,” Cohen said. “I would respectfully ask the board, in addition to considering this motion, to also [consider] a motion on a future date for speed cameras.”

Ernie Geiger, another resident, summarized the “nightmare” situation around the elementary school. He advised the board to hire a traffic specialist. 

“I think that what you’re looking at now is the tip of the iceberg, and I really don’t think that stop signs are going to do any good at this point,” he told the board. “I think somebody should look at it, look at the signage that’s there and make an intelligent decision instead of just throwing up two stop signs.”

Ryan Walker, a trustee of the Port Jefferson School District Board of Education who said he was speaking as a resident, advised the board that additional signage could complicate “traffic patterns that are already a mess.” 

Instead, he proposed coordinating with the Suffolk County Police Department for more traffic enforcement along the roadway.

Following the public comments, the board did not hold a vote on the proposed code amendment to add the stop signs.

Members of the Village of Port Jefferson Board of Trustees deliberate during a business meeting Monday, Aug. 21. From left, Deputy Mayor Rebecca Kassay and Mayor Lauren Sheprow with trustees Drew Biondo, Bob Juliano and Stan Loucks. Photo by Raymond Janis

Audit report

Christopher Reino, a partner at the Port Jefferson Station-based Cullen & Danowski — the firm that conducts the village’s annual independent audit — delivered a presentation on the report from the 2022 fiscal year.

Mayor Lauren Sheprow said the audit report was presented to the treasurer’s office on Jan. 4, 2023, noting, “That report was addressed to the Board of Trustees.” 

“Upon canvassing,” the mayor said she had discovered that “the current board members who were board members on Jan. 4, 2023, had not seen that report.”

Moran remarked upon “another flaw in the process,” indicating that when a village uses an outside audit firm and files with the village clerk, “there needs to be a public notice that that report is available at Village Hall for anyone to come and review it,” adding, “As far as I know, that hasn’t happened either.”

During his presentation, Reino reported that the village’s fiscal health has “been looking positive.”

“The fund balance has been growing,” he said. “You actually have a balanced budget now — in the past, you were using some of your existing fund balance to fund the budget, but right now, you’re pretty much at a break even.”

Revenues, he added, are aligned with expenditures, suggesting that the village currently has “a realistic budget.” The “only concern I had,” Reino said, was the lack of “a complete inventory,” which could assist the village in conducting insurance appraisals.

East Beach bluff 

Conversations continued over the two-phased bluff stabilization project at East Beach. 

For the proposed upland wall to fortify the restaurant/catering facility of the Port Jefferson Country Club, Sheprow reported that the village government is still “waiting on a response from [the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Administration] to see if that [$3.75 million] grant is coming through.” [See story, “Schumer secures funds for upper wall at PJCC…” Jan. 11, TBR News Media website.]

The current engineering plans include the addition of steel beams, according to Sheprow, who estimated that they could cost the village approximately $18,000 per beam.

The board approved an add-on resolution approving services from Huntington Station-based engineering firm GEI Consultants for up to $9,200, which Sheprow contended could help the village save hundreds of thousands of dollars on the upper wall project.

“What GEI is being asked to do is take a look at that project description to see if the removal of all those beams would work,” the mayor said. “The supposition is that that would still work and perhaps even make it more stable.”

She added that the modification in engineering plans could save the village roughly $300,000 on the upper wall project, “spending a few thousand to save a few hundred thousand.”

To watch the entire meeting, including trustee reports, please see the video above.

The Eastern box turtle, above, is a native species to Long Island. Photo by 37and7 from Wikimedia Commons

Through the years, there have been scattered reports of the Eastern box turtle, a native species to Long Island, seen along the Setauket-Port Jefferson Greenway Trail, particularly at a 1/8-mile strip adjacent to the Lawrence Aviation Superfund site.

Though not listed as an endangered species under the federal Endangered Species Act, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation considers the box turtle of “special concern,” a classification for native species that “warrants attention and consideration but current information, collected by the department, does not justify listing these species as either endangered or threatened.”

The New York State Department of Transportation, charged with mowing the Greenway three times per year, was alerted to the turtle presence earlier this summer by the Three Village Community Trust, the local organization supervising and stewarding the trail.

“We became aware that there were some turtles apparently in the area in and around the Lawrence Aviation site,” said Herb Mones, TVCT president. “As a result, we requested that the state, when it does its mowing program, not mow that section or that area.”

The Friends of the Greenway is a subsidiary of TVCT that works to maintain and upkeep the trail grounds. Charlie McAteer, the organization’s chair, held that the mowing operation does fulfill a public end, limiting tall grasses, which can often yield ticks.

“If the tall grass is right next to the paving, people worry about ticks as they go past,” McAteer said in an email. “So these few mowings do help with our human satisfaction.”

But, he added that the organization strives to keep “mowing to a minimum so meadow growth and places for turtles [and other wildlife] can flourish again and trail users can see and enjoy nature along the trail.”

Joshua Heller, public information specialist for NYSDOT, indicated that the department was made aware of the presence of turtles and halted mowing for the area in question. 

“The New York State Department of Transportation prides itself on being good stewards of the environment,” Heller said in a statement. “We have received the Three Village Community Trust’s letter and are reviewing it. In the meantime, we have temporarily halted mowing operations in this area.”

Aug. 22 walkthrough

A walk along the Greenway Tuesday, Aug. 22, painted a different picture.

Outside the Lawrence Aviation property, there was evidence of fresh mowing. However, there was no evidence of harm to wildlife observed during the walkthrough. 

Presented the photos of the recent mowing activities, Mones expressed possible miscommunication. 

“It’s unfortunate that the NYSDOT extended their mowing beyond the area we recommended to them,” the TVCT president said in an email. “In the past, the DOT has been responsive to our requests and recommendations. It’s obvious we’ll need to do more work to create a ‘protective zone’ in the future.”

NYSDOT did respond to a follow-up request for comment on the matter by clarifying that the recent mowing occurred prior to temporarily halting mowing in the area.

Possible solutions

A 2017 thesis paper by Margarete Walden explores the danger mowing activities pose to box turtles. 

To mitigate the potential risk of turtle mortality due to mowing, Walden suggests conducting “mowing activities [from] November to March, so as to coincide with the period of turtle hibernation,” during which they live underground. It is, however, difficult to mow during these months when there is heavy snowfall.

McAteer pledged that the Friends of the Greenway “will work with NYSDOT to try to work on the mowing distance/guidelines” for routine mowings.

For Mones, wildlife conservation and trail maintenance are not mutually exclusive. Rather, he indicated that both efforts could serve the coinciding interests of trail users and wildlife.

“Our motto is, ‘Protecting the places we love,’” Mones said. “We are the stewards of the Greenway, but we also have the residual responsibility to protect the open space and advance environmental protection.”

State and local officials rally outside the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles office in Port Jefferson Station on Tuesday, Aug. 22. From left, New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo, state Assemblyman Ed Flood, Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico, Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich and Brookhaven Councilwoman Jane Bonner. Photos by Raymond Janis

State and local officials are letting out a collective uproar over the planned closure of the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Port Jefferson Station branch later this week.

The Port Jeff Station office serves most of northern Brookhaven and parts of Smithtown. The three nearest alternatives are DMV offices in Medford, Hauppauge or Riverhead.

With foot traffic constantly moving in and out of the DMV on Tuesday morning, Aug. 22, New York State legislators joined Brookhaven Town Board members for a press conference calling upon Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) to intervene.

Town of Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine (R), who is running for Suffolk County executive against business leader Dave Calone (D), noted that while Suffolk is the fourth largest county by population in New York State, it tops the list in registered licensed drivers and registered vehicles.

“Closing this DMV office, which is used by so many people, is not the way to go,” he said.

New York State Sen. Anthony Palumbo (R-New Suffolk) highlighted the Town of Brookhaven’s considerable population, noting that the town has more residents than Miami, Florida.

“Could you imagine ignoring the residents of Miami when it comes to licensing drivers?” he asked. “Closing this DMV, unfortunately, is quite reckless, and I don’t think we’re really thinking about the citizens and the services they need.”

The state senator added that closing the Port Jefferson Station DMV would put greater strain on existing DMV locations in Suffolk County.

New York State Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) referred to the announced closure as a “disservice to the residents of this area.”

“It’s not in any way good government to close buildings or close facilities that are necessary,” the assemblyman said. “Right now, we have a need to expand our DMV operations instead of contract.”

Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor Dan Panico (R-Manorville), who is running for town supervisor against SUNY Old Westbury adjunct professor Lillian Clayman (D), attended Tuesday’s press event, condemning New York as “a state where people pay more and get less.”

“The overall theme and what we’re pointing out — what I’m pointing out — is that people on Long Island, specifically in Suffolk County and Brookhaven Town, are continually shortchanged by the State of New York,” he said.

Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook), whose 1st District includes the hamlets and villages across northwestern Brookhaven, echoed Panico’s sentiments. He referred to the conflict over limited state resources as a “suburban versus urban dynamic,” with suburban areas often neglected.

“The closure of this office is going to add at a minimum 40 minutes of round-trip driving for our residents who use it,” he indicated. “This is something that impacts all our residents.”

Councilwoman Jane Bonner (R-Rocky Point), whose 2nd District encompasses the northeastern reaches of the township, said existing employees at the Port Jeff Station location do not wish to relocate.

She also suggested that the closure contradicts the spirit of Hochul’s environmental agenda.

“Our governor has a very lofty environmental initiative,” Bonner stated. “Putting people in cars for longer on our state roads — that are not well maintained — and emitting fossil fuels doesn’t go along with her environmental initiative.”

Officials encouraged residents to weigh in on the DMV closure through an online petition created by the town. Scan the QR code to fill out the survey.

The New York State Capitol building, located in Albany. Photo by formulanone from Wikimedia Commons

Limited liability companies, or LLCs, in New York state are staring down new public disclosure requirements.

The proposed LLC Transparency Act “aims to modernize disclosure laws for” LLCs. Along with public disclosure of beneficial owners, the bill would create a public database that includes the names of beneficial owners of NYS LLCs.

Under the “justification” section, the bill states, “anonymous corporate ownership has proliferated since the 1990s,” presenting “numerous problems.” Among these, the legislation cites tax evasion, money laundering, organized crime and drug trafficking, among other social ills, as byproducts of the existing voluntary disclosure scheme.

The bill passed in the state Assembly and Senate earlier this year, and is awaiting Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) signature. It would take effect one year after the governor signs it.

Several members of the Long Island delegation, including state Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R-Riverhead), voted down the measure. 

In separate interviews with the two state legislators, they outlined their opposition.


Giglio stated that her objections to the bill were grounded in privacy concerns for the LLC proprietors.

“As an owner of an LLC, I don’t think that your home address should be public, that your private information should be public,” she said.

Addressing the concerns outlined within the legislation, Giglio added that the state government maintains records on the personal information of LLC owners.

She suggested that LLC violations could be monitored and handled by the NYS Department of State instead of the public.

“The state should be doing that digging and not necessarily individual people who can find out somebody’s home address and camp out outside because they don’t like something,” the assemblywoman said.


Flood suggested the LLC Transparency Act was redundant, given that the federal Corporate Transparency Act — which includes similar provisions as the state statute — is set to take effect on Jan. 1, 2024.

“As a small business owner, I know it’s just more paperwork to do,” he said. “It just seemed unnecessary. I understand the purpose of it, but it’s duplicative of what they already do on a federal level.”


The LLC Transparency Act carries a $250 fine for those who fail to register with NYS Department of State. Flood suggested that this penalty isn’t nearly enough to incentivize LLC owners who wish to remain anonymous to disclose their ownership status.

“The bill itself doesn’t have any teeth to it,” Flood said, noting it would likely lead to a collection of fines from responsible business owners rather than rooting out irresponsible LLCs. 

“It’s not going to do anything for its proposed purpose,” he added.

On top of the relatively painless fine for violators, Flood noted that the filing deadline is two years and 60 days after the bill takes effect. 

“You get two years and two months before the state even steps in to do anything,” he said, adding, “It looks like this bill was done as a feel-good legislation that actually has no effect, which is not uncommon for what we do in Albany.”

Rather than placing public disclosure requirements upon existing LLC proprietors, Giglio recommended that the state conducts more thorough investigations of newly formed LLCs.

“Before the LLC is formed, the initial investigation should occur,” she advised. “And if someone has a history of illicit activities, then the LLC shouldn’t be allowed to be formed.”

Giglio contended that recent state laws have created an increasingly hostile regulatory environment for small businesses. She rooted her opposition to the proposed LLC legislation as countering these trends.

“It seems like it’s getting harder and harder to do business in New York state,” she said. “Any complaint can be investigated, and it’s New York State’s job to make sure that businesses, corporations and LLCs are keeping up to their promises.”

A Suffolk County Transit bus passes through an intersection on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station. Photo by Raymond Janis

The Suffolk County Transit bus system is facing several financial and operational challenges, county officials and transit experts say.

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) highlighted the bus system’s prominent role in servicing the county’s residents. “The bus system is very important,” he told TBR News Media in an exclusive interview. “There have been a number of efforts over the years and a lot of discussions about [improvements].”

Despite good-faith efforts, many challenges remain, presenting difficult questions for policymakers. Former Suffolk County Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Setauket) outlined some challenges riders face.

“We don’t have enough routes, they don’t run often enough, and they don’t run late enough into the night or start early enough — there’s no question about it,” she said. “Traffic is increasing, our roadways are crumbling, and an improved bus system would certainly help needy families across Suffolk County.”

Cost a barrier to improvement

Richard Murdocco is an adjunct professor in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University. He noted the vital need the county’s bus system fulfills, particularly for vulnerable populations.

“Socially, it’s a service,” he said. “If people are taking the bus in Suffolk County, there’s a reason why,” as bus riders are often “the most vulnerable, and they need and rely on the bus system. It’s a public good.”

Murdocco considered mass transit in general as “a financial loser.” The bus system itself, he added, operates at a perpetual loss, requiring considerable subsidization. Hahn supported this assessment.

“It’s a difficult nut to crack because of the size of the county and the funding that we have access to,” she said. “It’s expensive to run buses all day long across a county as large as ours.”

Financing improvements, therefore, can be a complicated policy determination, especially given the dearth of riders. “The costs are always going to be astronomically high because there’s simply not enough population density for the routes to sustain it,” Murdocco said.

He added that Suffolk’s suburban character hinders ridership and hampers public investment, unlike densely populated urban areas.

A bus system “operates within the confines of the built environment,” the SBU adjunct professor said. “The fact of the matter is that Suffolk County isn’t dense populationwise. A mass transit system like the bus system needs density to thrive.”

While the bus system is “financially insolvent,” according to Murdocco, he did not consider systemwide expansion and modernization entirely off the table. 

Improvements are promised

Murdocco advocated for a “more holistic approach” when analyzing the bus system, tying buses to other modes of public and private transit. He presented the idea of a regional transportation study.

“You need a cohesive look,” he said. “Not even framing it as a bus study, but a holistic transportation study with local planners from the municipalities” is in order.

He added, “I want local governments working in conjunction with the county to look at the issue like they used to do.”

Bellone said the necessary studies and community outreach initiatives have taken place. He forecasted that systemwide improvements would be coming down the road. 

“We’ve done the analysis and a lot of community work,” the county executive said. “A lot of improvements are coming, based on community feedback and the studies that have been done.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, above, speaks during a press event Tuesday, Aug. 15, announcing a new county hotline to report acts of antisemitism. Photos from Bellone’s Flickr page

Suffolk County is making antisemitism an area of focus, creating a new hotline to facilitate the reporting of antisemitic incidents.

County officials say the program will enable them to monitor developments within Suffolk communities, attaining a clearer picture of what is happening on the ground. Using the county’s existing 311 call center, Suffolk residents can call the hotline to report acts of antisemitism.

“Unfortunately, antisemitism is something that we continue to see in our region, our country and throughout the world,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) said during a press event Tuesday, Aug. 15, announcing the program. “That’s why we have to remain vigilant in identifying what antisemitism is, what it looks like and how it impacts so many.”

The county executive encouraged residents to use the hotline, regardless of whether they believe an act meets the criteria of antisemitism. Bellone acknowledged that while coming forward may be difficult for some, Suffolk 311 “can provide complete confidentiality.” But, he added, residents should nonetheless report these instances whenever possible.

“The biggest concern is the lack of reporting, the underreporting that’s occurring out there,” he noted. “We want to make sure we have as much robust reporting as possible, so we have a full picture of what’s happening” within the community.

“Through 311, we can better document and track these occurrences, allowing us to work proactively toward eliminating antisemitism in our community,” he added.

Mindy Perlmutter, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Long Island, suggested the hotline could help provide authorities with a realistic understanding of potential antisemitic trends within the county.

“Now we’re going to be able to see the numbers … to see where we are seeing issues, what kind of issues we’re seeing, and then we’re going to be able to figure out the best way to combat those issues,” she said.

Allan Richter, chair of the Suffolk County Jewish American Advisory Board, said the hotline represents a vital measure against several dangerous currents taking place more broadly, referring to antisemitism as “a relentless problem.”

“Just about daily, we hear about or see reports in the media of antisemitism somewhere in the world,” he said. “The 311 initiative is part of a multilayered approach driven by forward thinking.”

Suffolk County Legislator Jason Richberg (D-West Babylon), the minority leader in the county Legislature, emphasized the role of residents in collecting accurate data. He maintained that “nothing is too small” to report.

“Small actions have led to larger actions throughout our history that have been destructive to many different communities,” he said. “To stand against that, we need to make sure that we know what those are, report it and make sure that information is given to the [county] police department.”

The minority leader added that this effort is part of an ongoing education campaign within Suffolk County that aims “to tell people this is not right, it’s not fun and this isn’t a joke.”

Officials maintained that the 311 antisemitism hotline is not a substitute for traditional emergency response services. In the event of an emergency, please call 911. For other types of hate crimes, the county hotline is 631-852-HATE (4283).