Legislation authored by Southampton Town Councilwoman Christine Scalera creating a Septic Rebate Incentive Program has had a measureable turn out of support from residents and was approved by the town board by a unanimous vote at last Tuesday’s town board meeting. Councilwoman Scalera updated the original resolution to reflect the input she received from members of the public over the three week written comment period.
“Anything we can do to lessen nitrogen and/or the effects thereof on our waters and further enhance water quality is key to maintaining the integrity of the town’s coastal areas and aquifers,” said Scalera. “Unfortunately, the economic realities are that very often people can’t absorb the cost of an upgrade themselves. It is my hope that providing this incentive will make the difference in being able to afford what was perhaps an untenable cost without the incentive.”
This initiative was contemplated as part of the Water Quality Protection Fund Scalera sponsored in the late part of 2012. The septic rebate legislation will allow for residents to receive up to 50 percent of the cost of the upgrade, and up to 60 percent to those who reside in critical watershed areas and within 200 feet of a body of water.
“While ultimately, I believe a regional approach is what is going to be needed to address this critical issue, I believe this a good beginning,” said Scalera.
Currently there is $50,000 in funds that will be allocated to the rebate program and distributed to residents on a first come first serve basis. Although the resolution has passed the town board, under legal requirements from the state, the law won’t take affect for another three weeks. Scalera is actively looking into additional funding sources and grants that could potentially increase the balance of the fund in order to keep the program going into the future and perhaps fund other such projects.