Quilts Donated to Southampton Hospital Maternity Center
Southampton Hospital recently received a very generous donation of more than 45 quilts and wall hangings from the Eastern Long Island Quilters Guild based in Southold. The group of approximately 300 quilters from all over the East End donates their hand-made items to the Kathleen D. Allen Maternity Center at Southampton Hospital every December. Additionally, the group makes wheelchair and baby-sized quilts. Fabric donations are always welcome. For more information, call 631-723-0244 or visit their website at www.ELIQG.com.
Above: (l to r) Betty Commander, RN; Jean Bernhardt; Kathleen Pierce and Theresa Kumbatovich, LPN
CPF Rev’s Stay Steady
Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr., reported last week that revenues for the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund (CPF) have increased by 8.6% percent for October 2009 as compared to the same month in 2008. For September 2009, the CPF generated $4.21 million. In 2008, the CPF generated $3.88 million for the same month. September marks the 5th consecutive month of improving CPF revenue. For the year, the CPF has generated $30 million for 2009 to date, compared with $50.4 million in 2008, or a 40.5 percent decline.
While revenues for September 2009 increased compared with a year ago, the number of transactions has declined by 7% for September 2009. For the first nine months of 2008 there were 5,444 transactions. For the same period in 2009 there were 4150, or a 23.8% decline for the year.
“The most recent CPF numbers clearly demonstrate two things. First, because of the national economic recession, the annual revenue expected to be generated for 2009 will be in the range of $36-38 million which will be the lowest year since 2001. However, for the last five (5) months the trend has improved with the highest monthly revenues of the year, said Thiele.
Virtual Tax Office
With the first installment of property taxes due by January 10, Southampton Town residents have an easier way to pay this year, says a release from supervisor Linda Kabot’s office. Taking advantage of a series of technological improvements, tax receiver Theresa Kiernan reported that all tax bills can now be viewed, printed or paid online. To do so, residents can log on to www.southamptontownny.gov and click the link for “Online Services” at the left of the screen.
“It’s a great way to receive proof of payment right on the spot,” said Kiernan. “There’s no longer any risk of it getting lost in the mail. And since there’s no need to fax copies of bills, it cuts down on paperwork at both ends.”
Among the new methods of payment are electronic checks via the automated clearinghouse (ACH) network, with American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa credit cards accepted over the internet. A one dollar fee will be charged for each ACH transaction and a two percent fee will be applied for credit card processing.
With more than 50,000 taxable parcels in the Town of Southampton, Kiernan’s office collects over $300 million annually in school, county and town taxes. Over 65 percent of bills are paid directly to the town by individuals, with the remaining 35 coming from banks for taxes included in mortgage payments.
“People should try it out,” advised Kiernan. “No one likes paying taxes, so the more convenient we can make it, the better.”
GOP Screens Sag Harbor Dentist
The Southampton Town Republican Committee screened candidates for a special election on Thursday evening, December 3. The group was in session for several hours at the Villa Tuscano Restaurant in Hampton Bays as the committee heard from potential office seekers hailing from nearly every corner of the town.
The evening began with Supervisor Linda Kabot thanking committee members and their alternates for their support over the years and particularly during the 2009 campaign. She also stated she will not seek the Republican nomination for Town Council.
In addition to three other candidates, the committee interviewed Dr. Tod Granger, who has a dental practice in Noyac and lives in Sag Harbor Village After retiring from 24 years of military service and attaining the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Granger has restarted his dentist practice in the Sag Harbor area. Born in Southampton Hospital and raised in Sag Harbor, he served on the Village Board of Trustees from 1988-1992, as well as on the boards of other town and community organizations.
The committee said they will likely make a decision by the second week of January at a special convention.
Mortgage Tax Revenue
The East End Supervisors and Mayors Association unanimously approved a resolution on Monday, December 7, by Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot petitioning Suffolk County to distribute mortgage tax revenues owed to local municipalities earlier and more frequently, said a press release distributed by Kabot’s office. The release stated that Kabot has also called upon County Executive Steve Levy to move the initiative forward.
The release continued, saying under the present system, Suffolk County collects mortgage tax revenues and disburses them to its ten townships under state law. However, funds are allocated biannually with a six month lag. In contrast, proceeds from the two percent real estate transfer tax are distributed to each East End town for their Community Preservation Funds on a monthly basis. Kabot said she would like to see the mortgage revenues distributed in a similar fashion, or at least quarterly.
“Since towns rely on mortgage tax revenues to support certain operating expenses, the ability to receive the proceeds on a timelier basis is critical to cash flow needs – particularly during tight budgetary times,” said Kabot.
The Southampton Supervisor also noted how the financial pressures an economic downturn exerts on a municipality can be considerable, especially if it is a local government that is dependent on revenues that are volatile and based on real estate and construction activities. Most of the past 10 years brought in over $12 million annually for Southampton, but the recent slump in home and land sales have put the number around $5.5 million for 2009 and an anticipated $6 million for 2010.
“Towns and villages are finding it more difficult to meet expenses according to their adopted spending plans,” said Kabot. “Like many households, they are living ‘paycheck-to-paycheck’ and this plan would let the payments come sooner and with more accurate predictions regarding the amounts for the following month.”
New York Congressman Tim Bishop sent a letter to New York State Governor David Paterson earlier this month urging him to request a federal disaster declaration from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for areas struck by recent storm occurrences along the south shore of Long Island. Such actions would allow federal disaster aid to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas that have experienced significant shore erosion, navigation degradation or asset damage, said a press release published by Bishop’s office.
Estimates of the damages to Suffolk County communities from the recent effects of Tropical Storm Ida exceed $26 million, continued the release.
“It is critical for the Governor to issue a disaster declaration as soon as possible for the south shore of Long Island to ensure our communities have adequate protection against future storms and that our maritime industries do not face further economic burden,” said Bishop. “Following the Governor’s decision, I will be coordinating a meeting between federal, state and local agencies to determine the most effective steps forward toward protecting the resources and assets of south shore communities.”
To view a copy of the letter visit http://timbishop.house.gov/index.cfm?sectionid=39§iontree=3,39&itemid=1615.
During a tele-conference held on Friday, December 11, Congressman Tim Bishop reported that he has found a pre-existing law authorizing the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to dictate the flight routes of helicopter pilots. Working with Senator Charles Schumer, Congressman Bishop presented to FAA representatives a 1989 decision which Bishop says allows the FAA to regulate helicopter traffic. In order to reduce noise pollution caused by helicopters on the North and South Shore of Long Island, Congressman Bishop said a voluntary flight route, keeping the helicopters over water as long as possible, was unsuccessful due to noncompliance.
“The FAA are on board in terms of working with us in bringing this long festering problem [to a close],” said Congressman Bishop.