Peconic County idea crops up amid L.I. consolidation debate

10/07/2011 3:38 PM |

In response to a Long Island group’s recent call to consolidate Nassau and Suffolk counties, one East End legislator is reminding those in favor of the proposal that a movement to partition the eastern portion of Suffolk into a Peconic County is still alive.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele (I-Sag Harbor), who represents the South Fork, says that by creating one “surburban mega-county” with a population of 2.8 million — as is being suggested by the Long Island Association — the 100,000 people living in the five eastern Suffolk towns would have minimal representation with one seat on a 22-member legislature.

He said eastern Long Island already has trouble getting its fair share in the county government, pointing to county Legislator Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk) and his struggle in securing Sunday bus service on the East End.

“We’re 8 percent of the population, but we contribute 33 percent of the property tax,” he said this week.

In January, Mr. Thiele and state Senator Ken LaValle (R-Port Jefferson) introduced bills that call for a study examining a potential Peconic County and also examine the idea of Long Island seceding from New York to become its own state.

Mr. Thiele said he introduces a similar bill every year.

Creating a Peconic County has been discussed for many years. In 1997, 71 percent of East End residents even voted to create it in a nonbinding referendum.

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