Town of North Hempstead’s waste authority goes cashless

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Town of North Hempstead officials announced last Thursday that the town’s Solid Waste Management Authority now accepts credit card and debit card payments, a change from its previous cash-only policy.
Beginning on Jan. 1, the town will no longer accept cash or check payments for any SWMA products or services.
“After carefully evaluating the town’s cash handling procedures, we were able to take solid steps toward better internal controls and efficiency,” Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth said. “Our goal is to move as close as possible to a noncash operating mode.”
A former town employee, Helen McCann, was arrested in February for allegedly embezzling more than $98,000 from SWMA.
McCann began working for the town in 1998, according to the Nassau district attorney’s office, and in January 2014 was transferred to the Solid Waste Management Authority to serve as an administrative assistant.
Employees who work at the Solid Waste Management Authority facility handle cash payments and garbage scale records, which they  take to the authority’s administrative offices.
The district attorney’s office said an administrative employee then deposits the cash into the authority’s Chase Bank account and sends a memo to the town comptroller’s office detailing the amount received and attaching bank deposit slips.
Beginning Jan. 26, 2014, the DA’s office said, McCann was responsible for receiving and depositing the money.
The town comptroller’s office notified the Solid Waste Management Authority about a decrease in revenue in mid-January.
Between May 11, 2014, and Jan. 11, 2016, it is alleged that McCann embezzled $98,862.91 from the Solid Waste Management Authority.
The town referred the situation to the DA’s office and on Jan. 21 an investigation was launched.
McCann was terminated as a town employee at the start of the investigation, the DA’s office said.
The switch to card-only payments is part of an initiative by Bosworth to reduce cash payments at the town.
The town’s animal shelter has eliminated cash payments and now accepts credit card payments, town officials said.
Officials said the town’s building department is in the process of setting a maximum cash transaction limit and the parks department has limited which services can accept cash as a method of payment.
SWMA’s cash-free regulation will apply to all department-related purchases, including recycling bins and residential drop-off waste.
Officials said the regulation also applies to SWMA-related purchases made at alternate facilities including Michael J. Tully Park in New Hyde Park and the “Yes We Can” Community Center in Westbury.
SWMA now accepts Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express credit or debit cards.

By Joe Nikic

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