Government: Southampton Town Budget; Giardina Releases East Hampton Survey Results

Southampton Town Hall

Southampton To Consider 2018 Budget

The Southampton Town Board will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 28, at which Supervisor Jay Schneiderman will submit his tentative budget for 2018. The town provided no information about the size of the budget or its impact on taxes.

Last year, Mr. Schneiderman proposed a $94.7 million budget that reduced taxes by about 2 percent. That spending plan was adopted largely unchanged by the town board.

The town board is scheduled to discuss the budget, make amendments and convert it to a preliminary budget on Thursday, October 5. Budget hearings have been scheduled for October 24 and November 14. The spending plan must be adopted by November 20, and the board has set a special meeting to do so on that date.

Hearing on Hills

After nearly three years of review, the Hills, a highly controversial proposal to build 118 houses and a private golf course on a 165-acre site in East Quogue, is ready for a public hearing. The Southampton Town Board, which is reviewing the mixed-use planned development district, on Tuesday set an October 19 date for that hearing, which will be held at the East Quogue Elementary School at 6 p.m.

It is sure to be a well-attended event, if Tuesday’s town board meeting is any indication. According to Connie Conway, Supervisor Jay Schneiderman’s chief of staff, more than 50 people took the opportunity to weigh in on a findings statement the board is crafting as part of its review of a final environmental impact statement for the project. She said the board tabled that matter on Tuesday and will revisit it at next month’s public hearing.

The Hills project, which also proposes to set aside more than 400 acres as open space, proved to be highly controversial and led to the town board’s decision last year to first impose a moratorium on future planned development districts before voting this summer to repeal the PDD law altogether.

Giardina Outlines Community Concerns

Wastewater contamination, water quality, Montauk beach erosion, and government ethics are some of the issues that most concern residents of East Hampton, according to a poll undertaken on behalf of East Hampton Town Board candidate Paul Giardina.

Mr. Giardina, who is running for town board on the Republican ticket along with Jerry Larsen and supervisor candidate Manny Vilar, held a press conference Monday afternoon at the American Legion in Amagansett, outlining the poll and his position on key issues.

According to Mr. Giardina, the top three issues identified in the survey are environmental in nature and include water quality concerns and beach erosion in Montauk.

“Let me say this clearly at the outset: Montauk beaches are not going to be given back to the Atlantic Ocean on my watch,” he said in a statement released after Monday’s press conference.

“For most of us, this concern about water is natural. The communities and people of eastern Long Island have always depended upon their water resources for their livelihoods and leisure.

“We have 70 miles of shoreline right here in East Hampton Town,” he continued. “Frankly, even though the depth of concern was a surprise to me, I was pleased by this finding. It dovetails perfectly with my skills and background as a career environmental engineer and a seasoned manager with the EPA and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. No other candidate for Town Hall will be better able to assess the problem, evaluate remediation programs, monitor progress and deliver better water.”

Mr. Giardina said the Republican slate supports a three-pronged program for East Hampton’s water resources: protection, defense and improvement.

In terms of government ethics, Mr. Giardina said more than half of the 200 residents polled cited that as a concern. Residents are also worried about non-conforming construction, he said. Mr. Giardina also called for an environmental review of Deepwater Wind’s South Fork Wind Farm and said airport noise earned the least number of responses as being a serious concern facing residents who were polled.

County Announces Algal Action Plan

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced on Monday that the county Department of Health Services had released an action plan to deal with harmful algal blooms.

The county executive’s office described the plan as the first comprehensive and integrated strategy ever developed to guide the work of multiple levels of government, scientists and academia to address increasingly frequent blooms that threatened the county’s environment and economy.

Release of the plan comes as the United States Senate is considering a bill that would provide $100 million in additional funding to combat algal blooms.

“More frequent harmful algal blooms, fish kills and beach closures are all stark reminders of the water quality crisis Long Island is facing and the importance of having government on all levels, scientists and academia working as a team to develop science-based solutions,” Mr. Bellone said in a release.

The action plan was developed by the health department working with New York Sea Grant and Dr. Christopher Gobler, associate dean of Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.

The top strategic priority in the plan is the reduction of loadings of nitrogen and phosphorous to ground and surface waters through the replacement of non-performing cesspools and septic systems with new, innovative wastewater treatment systems and the adoption of additional measures to regulate the amount and composition of nitrogen-based fertilizers.