Electronic Payments and Efficiency Plans in East Hampton

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Over the next few months, the Town of East Hampton will begin to move over to electronic payments for the Building Department, town Justice Court and Tax Receiver’s office, in an effort to eliminate lines in hallways and increase staff productivity.

Charlene Kagel, the town’s chief auditor, explained that she has been in touch with the Town of Southampton, which has an online payment system already in place, and is heeding its advice when it comes to selecting the companies to employ.

The town has already received bids, and is now in the process of choosing the ones that will be most appropriate for each department. One specific company, she said, would work well for the town court, but another would better suit the Building Department or the Town Clerk’s office, she explained at a work session on Tuesday. This program is expected to be initiated before the end of the year, she added.

Efficiency Plan

Ms. Kagel also discussed an efficiency plan that was submitted to the state last week to qualify East Hampton residents for a property tax rebate. In order to qualify to receive a state rebate, she explained, the municipality must not have pierced the cap for two years, and in the second year must submit an efficiency plan, explaining the ways in which it has consolidated to save money.

The town had to show that the efficiencies plan would save at least $507,107, per year. The efficiency package that Ms. Kagel, Supervisor Larry Cantwell and budget officer Len Bernard to put together, which includes a shared services agreement with East Hampton Village and the closure of the scavenger waste facility, has projected annual savings of $1.037 million.

Seeing how the town has projected double the savings required to qualify, Ms. Kagel said she thought it would have plenty of wiggle room to meet the state’s target.

YMCA Update

In other action, Glenn Vickers, the new executive director of the YMCA, gave the town an update on his first 100 days on the job, and on some of the upcoming events and changes.

“We’ve had great communication with the town,” Mr. Vickers said.

He said the Y has undertaken a number of capital improvements at the East Hampton RECenter over the past few months, including adding new computers and updating the WiFi system.

The YMCA is working to increase some of its programming, he explained, and is looking into the possibility of holding a teen night on Saturdays from 7 to 9 p.m., starting this winter. It is also considering a program called Leaders for Lemonade, which helps get young people involved in the community, and gives them the opportunity to give back.

Supervisor Cantwell pointed out that the RECenter was initially supposed to be a youth-oriented proposal but “that’s not really what happened there.”

“I’m not criticizing that in any way, but the original expectation is much different from what the results were,” he said, asking that Mr. Vickers be receptive to the needs and requests of the community.

“My core, my career started as a senior camp counselor,” Mr. Vickers said. Some East Hampton residents, however, are still concerned that the center has strayed too far from its intended use. Walker Bragman, an East Hampton native, addressed the board following Mr. Vickers’s presentation.

“This is what the YMCA looks like,” he said holding up a picture of rows and rows of exercise equipment, “there is not a single place that is really for kids.” Mr. Bragman said that the center is no longer fulfilling its main mission.

 

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