Tag Archive | "Diane Skilbred"

Sag Harbor Village Board Race Coming into Focus

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By Stephen J. Kotz

With village elections a little more than five weeks away, at least four candidates have announced they will run for two openings on the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees, while one incumbent has said he will step down from the board. But the picture remains cloudy in North Haven, where no candidates have yet to file nominating petitions, although the mayor’s seat and four trustee positions are open.

The deadline for candidates who want to run for village board in either Sag Harbor or North Haven to turn in petitions to the village clerk of either municipality is by the close of business on Tuesday. Elections take place in both villages on June 17.

Sag Harbor Village Trustee Kevin Duchemin said on Tuesday that he would not seek another term. “I’ve discussed it with my wife and family and I’ve chosen not to run again,” said Mr. Duchemin, who is an East Hampton Village police officer. He would not provide specific reasons for his decision, but said he wanted to remain open to a future run for village office.

Mr. Duchemin said he would endorse incumbent Trustee Robby Stein, who is seeking another term, and former Village Clerk/Administrator Sandra Schroeder, who ran unsuccessfully for mayor  year ago, and has announced she will run for trustee.

They will be joined at this point by newcomer John Shaka, a board member of the Save Sag Harbor advocacy group and former Trustee Bruce Stafford, who served from 2009 to 2011.

In North Haven, Mayor Jeff Sander, who was appointed to his position to fill the unfinished term of Laura Nolan, who resigned, is up for re-election for a two-year term.

The seats of trustees George Butts and Diane Skilbred are also up for two-year terms. The seat of James Davis, who was appointed to complete Mr. Sander’s term as trustee, is up for a one-year term. The two highest vote-getters will win two-year terms.

All are members of the North Haven Party.

On Wednesday, North Haven Village Clerk Georgia Welch said representatives of the party had picked up petition packets but that none had been returned yet.

“I won’t know until I see [completed petitions] who will be running,” she said. “I don’t do ‘Rumor has it…’ I don’t sing that song well. Adele does it better.”

None of the North Haven candidates could not immediately be reached for comment by this edition’s deadline, but the four candidates in Sag Harbor were eager to share their goals for the village.

“I always have a list that I’m pecking away at,” said Mr. Stein, who is seeking his third term. Mr. Stein, who said he tries to be a voice for environmental concerns,   listed the need to reduce the amount of stormwater runoff and improve the health of the harbor and Sag Harbor Cove as priorities that need to be addressed on a continuing basis. He also said improving village information technology services, alleviating the village’s cramped parking situation, and completing the waterfront park as priorities that he would focus on if elected.

Mr. Shaka said traffic calming, improving water quality, and maintaining the village’s infrastructure were among the concerns he would work on if elected. He also said the village had to remain vigilant against inappropriate development.

“Everyone is in Sag Harbor because they love it. They love its quality of life,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean we don’t do anything.”

Ms. Schroeder, who worked for the village for more than 20 years in various capacities, echoed the calls for improving water quality by through reducing road runoff and controlling development, while adding that maintaining infrastructure along the waterfront was also key.

“I’m very concerned about our water quality,” she said. “We are a waterfront village. And we have to take care of our docks. They are our second largest source of income behind taxes.”

Mr. Stafford said he saw “a lot of unfinished things in the village that I’d like to help out on. I enjoyed being on the board. I enjoyed helping the people.”

Mr. Stafford said he has always been community-oriented and has served on the fire department for 36 years as well as chairman of he Sag Harbor United Methodist Church board, among other things.

“I’d like to address affordability,” he said of the high cost of living in Sag Harbor. Although Mr. Stafford said he no easy answers to provide more housing, he said on his first term he had worked to keep taxes low, which, he said, was the first step toward making the village affordable.

Incumbents Run Unopposed in North Haven

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By Claire Walla

This Tuesday, North Haven Village will see an uncontested election, with trustees George Butts and Diane Skilbred, as well as Mayor Laura Nolan all up for reelection.

Nolan, who will be running for her sixth term in office, includes in her list of achievements: financial stewardship (maintaining the same tax rate for the last five years); land preservation (preserving 26 acres of open space); village management (upgrading to a digital filing system); and traffic-calming measures supported by the roundabout where Ferry Road meets County Road 60.

Nolan added the most important issues facing the village in the coming years will include the effects of the two-percent tax cap, as well as “the continued pressures of development” and “preserving the beauty of our coastal waters.”

After moving to North Haven in the early ‘90s, Nolan first ran for village board in 1997.

“I originally got involved because of the deer issue,” Nolan said.

Back then, Nolan said the deer population in North Haven alone registered over 500. Together with her fellow village board members, Nolan said she helped put measures in place to reduce the deer population.

“We have safely reduced the deer herd,” she wrote in an email, “and continue to maintain a very small deer population.”

After having served on the North Haven Village Board since 2010, Trustee Diane Skilbred will be running for her second term in office.

Of the issues the village board has faced in the time she’s been in office, she said the most significant have been the law allowing residents to raise chickens and the cell phone tower first proposed in December of 2010.

“I was the only one who was opposed to it,” she said of the tower. “I didn’t think it was appropriate for North Haven.” (The cell tower proposal was ultimately shot down.)

Much of Skilbred’s decision making has revolved around the idea of maintaining the “rural character” of the village, which is why she said she strongly supported the chicken law, which was ultimately adopted by the board.

While relatively new to the village board, Skilbred was previously a member of the Architectural Review Board (ARB), which she served on for 16 years.

The main initiative Skilbred said she will try to spearhead during her next term in office is installing solar panels on the roof of Village Hall.

After four years as a North Haven Village Trustee, George Butts will be running for his third term in office.

Butts was born and raised in Sag Harbor and moved to North Haven in the ‘80s. A member of the Volunteer Fire Department and the Sag Harbor Dive Team, Butts had been Chairman of the North Haven Zoning Board of Appeals for 18 years before joining the village board.

Like Skilbred, of the most important issues the board has faced in the last four years Butts named the newly adopted chicken law and the debate over the proposed cell phone tower. But, in general, Butts said the village has remained relatively uncontroversial.

“It’s a good thing what we’re doing,” he said, explaining that the board works as a unit, for the most part, and largely avoids much bickering when it comes to deciding issues.

“I hope we’ll continue to take care of everything and make [the village] run as smoothly as it has been running,” he said.

“We’re an unusual board,” Mayor Nolan added.  “We work as a team.”

The North Haven Village election will take place this Tuesday, June 19 at Village Hall.

ZBA Application Fees Up $350 in North Haven Village

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By Claire Walla

Citing net losses of nearly 30 percent over the past few years, the North Haven Village Board of Trustees have voted unanimously to raise the fee for applications before the Zoning Board of Appeals. The cost will increase from $600 to $950 — effective immediately.

“We shouldn’t be losing money,” said Village Trustee Diane Skilbred, echoing the sentiments of her fellow board members at the trustees monthly meeting on Tuesday when the vote was taken.

Village Clerk Georgia Welch explained that while applicants have historically paid to have their applications heard by the board, in recent years the number of applications has risen dramatically. Whereas the board used to hear anywhere from zero to three applications a month, since 2008 the board has typically seen around five applications.

One year Welch said the board ultimately took in $3,000 in application fees, but ended up spending $5,000 in service fees; another year applications totaled $6,000, while service fees cost $9,000. These fees include payments for a stenographer and other legal services, “because it’s a quasi-judicial board,” Welch explained. “There are avenues where court action can be taken.”

The fee will apply to all new applications going forward. Welch said all applications that are currently in the process of being heard will be unaffected by the village’s new fee.

Unsatisfactory Signage, to Some

North Haven resident Carol Ahlers isn’t pleased. In reference to a wooden sign bearing block lettering that was recently erected at the corner of a residence on Ferry Road, she wrote, “you can’t miss it, it’s ugly, it’s illuminated at night and it’s huge.”

She continued, “Can we make this sign disappear?”

Members of the North Haven Village Board said they had already contacted Village Attorney Anthony Tohill about the matter.

“It’s awfully close to the road,” said Trustee Jeff Sander.

“We suspect it’s on village property,” added Welch.

In fact, the only signs permitted in the village are nameplate or professional signs (not to exceed two square feet); real estate signs (not to exceed four square feet); and subdivision signs (not to exceed 10 square feet), for which residents are also required to obtain a building permit.

Greening A Village

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By Claire Walla

As the village of North Haven continues down the green road toward solar heating, clerk Georgia Welch updated the board at its most recent meeting on Tuesday about the steps needed to secure a bid for the project, as well as the financial costs the town board could expect to pay to redo the village hall’s roof.

Welch explained that she met with the village’s grant writer the week prior and learned that, unfortunately, the opportunity to receive grant money to complete the project “has been closed for quite a while.”

But, Welch said the village will keep pursuing other options.

“[The grant writer] is going to explore other opportunities so she will continue to let me know what may become available,” Welch added.

Welch also relayed two estimates to the board for costs associated with replacing the roof over village hall. (Though slated to happen in conjunction with the installation of solar panels, the roof replacement project has already been written into this year’s budget and will take place regardless of whether or not the village goes solar.)

The estimates are based on two different options: fully replacing the current wood shingles, or replacing the wood with an asphalt material known as GAF timberline. Based on calculations made by Village Building Inspector Al Daniels, the cost of the first project is estimated to be about $38,000. The cost of using asphalt shingling would hover closer to $27,000, saving the village roughly $11,000.

The board has not made any decisions either way, but board members seemed more inclined to go for the less expensive GAF timberline material, which is also expected to last longer than wood. Board members have asked to see samples of each shingle before making their final decision.

In other news…

The village of North Haven approved a request from the North Haven Village Improvement Society to host its annual “Santa Visit” on Saturday, December 17. This is the 58th year the improvement society has sponsored this event.

Board members also approved a resolution to grant an extended contract to Summerhill Landscapers for just under $3,000 to plant additional bulbs at the traffic circle in the village.

While much of the North Haven Village Board meeting went off without a hitch, noticeably absent was Mayor Laura Nolan, who is grieving the loss of her husband, Jonathan Nolan. Nolan unexpectedly passed away on October 10 after a fall in the family’s home.

“Usually in the firehouse we have a moment of silence when there’s been a loss,” said a noticeably choked-up Jim Smyth, a village trustee and member of the Sag Harbor Fire Department.

So the board briefly paused before Smyth continued. “I’m filling in for Laura Nolan because I’m the deputy mayor,” he said. “I told her, we got her back until she’s ready.”

North Haven May Go Solar

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By Claire Walla

This year, the Village of North Haven budgeted for roof repairs at its village hall. But, based on discussions at a board meeting on Tuesday, the village aims to do more than replace its wooden shingles.

The village board heard a presentation by trustee Diane Skilbred, who — along with village building inspector Al Daniels and resident Jamie Davis — is part of a committee formed to investigate the prospect of outfitting village hall with solar panels.

“We’re aiming to get about 80 to 100 percent of our electric bill” taken care of by the solar panels, Skilbred explained.

This estimate is based on informational meetings the committee had set-up with three local companies: Green Logic, Sun-Nation and NRG (which stands for Nationwide Renewables Group).

Skilbred said the village can expect to pay somewhere between $70,000 and $90,000 to install solar panels. However, she added that the entire cost of the project is impossible to pinpoint now. The price tag is expected to be offset by rebates issued retroactively to solar energy companies through the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA). The rebate rate is currently set at 2.75 Kilowatts an hour, which means that, in the end, North Haven Village will pay roughly $35,000 for the project.

However, Village Clerk Georgia Welch emphasized that this dollar amount is only based on LIPA’s current rate. It could very well change over time, especially given the time frame for this particular project. Welch said it would probably take about four months to get a resolution passed to begin construction on solar panels. Right now, the village is in a very preliminary stage of the process.

Skilbred spoke to the benefits of going solar by adding that the panels would be good for up to 25 years, and that the village should expect to see a return on its investment after 11 years.

Plus, she added, “it sets a good example [for residents].”

The village board voted on Tuesday in favor of spending up to $5,000 to pay for project proposals from each company. Welch said she expected the bids to come back in January.

In other news…

Mayor Laura Nolan reported that the village ended up paying roughly $30,000 for storm clean-up efforts in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene. The village hired two extra part-time workers, Mark Daniels and Joseph Labrozzi, who ended up hauling garbage away at $75 a trip; they made about 42 trips in total. Village Clerk Georgia Welch said the village is still waiting to hear back from FEMA to see whether some of that cost will be reimbursed.

Unlike the rest of Southampton Town, which will see a limited leaf pick-up program this year, North Haven Village Trustees voted to implement their program this year just as last year. Pick up will commence on two dates this fall: November 14 and December 5.

The village also approved the hire of Laura Hildreth, who will continue efforts to help the village move information from paper to electronic documents.

“This is the third and final phase [of the project],” Welch explained, adding that is expected to be completed by this summer, just as she had predicted. Hildreth will be paid $35 an hour for six hours a day, three days a week from October 3, 2011 through May 1, 2012.