by Stephen J. Kotz
The Sag Harbor Village Board on Tuesday tabled a proposal to launch a pilot program to offer rebates for septic system upgrades after questions were raised about how the program would be funded and who would qualify for the rebates.
Trustee Robby Stein, who is typically the most vocal member of the board in supporting anti-pollution measures, questioned who would qualify.
“My concern is we’re not subsidizing the 1 percent,” he said.
“I question why myself, as a Main Street resident, would be subsidizing people who own waterfront homes worth millions of dollars,” added former Mayor and Trustee Pierce Hance.
Although Mayor Brian Gilbride said he wanted to allocate $50,000 to the project, much as Southampton Town did with a similar program last year, Mr. Hance argued that the way the law was written there was no spending cap. He also said the board should determine whether the septic rebate program should really be a top priority for the village.
Trustee Ed Deyermond asked where funding would come from, and Mr. Gilbride said it would be taken from a surplus fund of more than $1 million that the village has on hand.
“I applaud the village for taking this on,” said Bruce Tait, the chairman of the Harbor Committee, “but I was actually shocked that the harbor committee wasn’t informed.” He said because the village has a Local Waterfront Revitalization Plan, it might qualify for state aid.
The village program would provide rebates limited to between $2,500 and $3,000 for the replacement of old septic systems that were installed before 1981.
The board tabled the discussion until next month.