Tag Archive | "east hampton town"

LWV Debate: East Hampton Council Candidates Eye Governing in Stressful Times


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Seemingly more amenable to each other than the supervisor candidates, East Hampton town board candidates hashed out their views on the town’s financial crisis and conservation, during a League of Women Voters sponsored forum last Thursday at the East Hampton Firehouse and Emergency Services Building.

Republican and Independence Party candidate Theresa Quigley opened the debate providing the close to 100 residents in attendance a little background on her Northwest Woods upbringing.

“We all love East Hampton,” said Quigley, an attorney with Farrell Fritz. “There is not much not to like, except for our government.”

Noting the town’s finances are a “train wreck,” Quigley said while both parties promise to protect the environment and restore strong fiscal management of the town, the professional backgrounds of her fellow Republican candidates will “professionalize” town government.

Patti Leber, who is running on the Democratic line, said her experience with a number of local not-for-profits, including the Children’s Museum of the East End (CMEE), the Montauk Playhouse, as well as her work on the Montauk School District’s PTA and board of education gives her the credentials to aid the town in such tumultuous times.

“Every year we have to balance a budget and bring it to voters,” she said of the school district.

Leber added another focus would be to bring “green collar” jobs, or those focused on environmental sustainability to the town.

Dominick Stanzione, who is running with the Republican, Independence and Working Families parties, and has a background in professional and financial services, noted that he was also instrumental in the creation of a town budget advisory committee.

Some of his professional experience, he added, was when he was assigned to a team of analysts working on the financial crisis in New York City in the 19070s.

“It seems very close to what is happening in East Hampton,” said Stanzione.

Like Quigley, Democrat and Working Families party candidate John Whelan is a native East Hampton resident, who grew up on a farm in Northwest Woods with 11 brothers and sisters.

“It teaches you to listen to other people and respect other’s opinions,” said Whelan.

With a father entrenched in East Hampton Town government and a background in architecture, including a number of years as the project manager for the Ross School construction project, Whelan said he is very comfortable working in government and managing large budgets.

When asked how the town can continue to preserve land given the dwindling resources in the Community Preservation Fund (CPF), Quigley said she believes the town should aggressively conserve land, but only after it is sure it can cover debt from borrowing against anticipated revenues. Leber, Stanzione and Whelan echoed Quigley’s position.

When asked should the town consider selling preserved lands or other assets, Leber noted anything preserved with CPF, by law, cannot be sold, and given the real estate market, this may not be the best time to sell other land.

“Yeah, I think we are probably going to have to sell some assets,” said Stanzione. He said he would like to see 2010 dedicated to forums to figure out what residents think should be sold. Ideas he has include leasing the town-owned skating rink to a new firm and creating a new revenue source for the town.

While agreeing CPF-preserved lands cannot be sold, Whelan said he would be open to selling other parcels if it was carefully analyzed. He also said he would like to see affordable commercial spaces developed in the town and supported selling other assets as well.

While supporting continued land preservation, like Stanzione, Quigley suggested making new revenue sources out of properties already owned by the town, including the skating rink and the Montauk Playhouse.

Stanzione suggested renegotiating the contract at the scavenger waste plant, which he said costs $1.4 million annually and is only operating at 30 percent capacity. Turning it into a scavenger waste facility, he said, could give the town an additional million dollars in revenue. He said reducing the cost for commercial carters could also help boost revenues.

Whelan said he would hate to see any jobs lost, but would ask department heads to cut 10 percent from their budgets, would freeze all new projects and recommend a policy of attrition.

“There is going to have to be a paring down and a paring down of services,” he said.

Leber said recommending the leaf bag program over pickup could give the town an additional $500,000 to work with. Keeping consultant work “as much in house” as possible is also a priority, as is better reporting of the town’s finances “so we can all stay on top of all the numbers.”

Political Moves

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By Karl Grossman

This is a moment of many political questions involving an array of Suffolk County people and governments—on the town, county, state and federal levels.

What are the prospects of Rick Lazio, former four-term member of the House of Representatives from Suffolk, in his bid to be New York governor? Mr. Lazio, a Brightwaters Republican, announced last week he’s running. Could he, taking advantage of what polling shows is the low popularity of Democratic incumbent David Paterson, become the first Suffolk person ever elected governor?

But if Mr. Paterson refuses to heed President Barack Obama’s call not to run, won’t former New York City Mayor Rudoph Giuliani, smelling political blood, jump in, too? Becoming governor would for Mr. Giuliani, a weekend Hamptons resident, greatly enhance his chances for being the GOP nominee for president.

If Mr. Paterson does drop out, state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo will be the Democratic candidate for governor in 2010—but then what about attorney general? Look for Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy to reach for that.

Another incumbent with less than solid state backing is Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Readying a challenge is Suffolk Legislator Jon Cooper. He’s the legislature’s Democratic majority leader and, interestingly for this situation, was the Long Island campaign chair last year for Obama. The Obama White House got Representative Steve Israel of Dix Hills to back away from taking on Ms. Gillibrand. Will it try and succeed at getting Mr. Cooper of Lloyd Harbor to back off?

Mr. Cooper was making appearances upstate last week in his “exploratory” moves toward a primary contest against Ms. Gillibrand. The conservative positions of upstater Gillibrand when she was in the House are viewed with disfavor by some Democrats. If he wins a primary against Ms. Gillibrand and then the general election in 2010, Mr. Cooper, the first openly gay elected official on Long Island, would become the first openly gay member of the U.S. Senate.

Will former Brookhaven Town Supervisor John Jay LaValle restore the Suffolk GOP to winning ways? Last week, the once highly powerful LaValle was back in politics, elected Suffolk Republican chairman.

The Suffolk GOP was once all but omnipotent here but has been in a major decline for years. The Suffolk’s Congressional Representatives Israel and Tim Bishop of Southampton are both Democrats. The county executive is a Democrat. The Suffolk Legislature has a Democratic majority. The heavily-populated Suffolk towns of Huntington, Babylon and Islip, for years solidly GOP-controlled, have Democratic governments. The district attorney (an especially sensitive spot in long scandal-racked Suffolk) is a Democrat.

Brookhaven, after Mr. LaValle left the supervisor’s spot in 2005, had, for a time, a town board with a Democratic majority. They ran charging the town had become “Crookhaven” under GOP rule—and this was well-documented by criminal convictions.

Democrat Mark Lesko, a former federal prosecutor, is making a robust run for re-election as Brookhaven supervisor. Will a Democratic town board majority be voted back on Election Day this November 3?

What about East Hampton?  It’s been run by Democrats for most of recent decades but upsetting many now is the financial mess the town is in and scandal involving indicted town Budget Officer Ted Hults who says he followed the directions of Supervisor Bill McGintee in juggling funds. Mr. McGintee is not running for re-election. Deputy County Executive Ben Zwirn is the Democratic candidate for supervisor, and he was a reformer as supervisor of North Hempstead. But the GOP nominee, Bill Wilkinson, nearly beat Mr. McGintee two years ago. Will the GOP win big this year in East Hampton?

Is this a good Democratic year in Southampton? Supervisor Linda Kabot, seeking re-election, has troubles because of a split within the town GOP and her recent arrest for alleged drunken driving. She faces a strong Democratic opponent in Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst.

On Shelter Island, where politics is more than local, it’s personal, and with incumbent Democratic Supervisor Jim Dougherty not being opposed by the GOP, what will be the impact of Bill Smith, nemesis of Brookhaven National Laboratory and Plum Island Animal Disease Center, running for supervisor under the banner of his Shelter Island Preservation Party, and Paul Shepherd running for supervisor under the banner of his Local Liberties Party?            

State Criticizes Budget As Taxes Rise In East Hampton

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In an effort to reinstate funding to a number of youth related programs in the Town of East Hampton and ensure revenue projections from 2009 are at conservative levels, the town board discussed adding roughly $1 million back into its proposed budget last week. If adopted the plan would result in an almost 24 percent tax increase for town residents.

The work session, held last Thursday, came as the New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released a report on November 6 stating the town has over-estimated some projected revenues in the proposed 2009 budget, while under-estimating some projected costs. This would set the stage for what the comptroller’s office calls the possibility of “a budget shortfall next year that could amount to several millions of dollars.”

The proposed 2009 budget comes in around $69 million, although the board has the ability to revise the budget through November 20 when it must be adopted and submitted to the state. The board is expected to do just that at its Tuesday, November 18 board meeting. The comptroller had the authority to review the spending plan in a deal struck after the town and the state reached an agreement for the town to acquire some $15 million in state bonds to cover a growing deficit that could reach as high as $12 million by the close of 2009.

According to the comptroller’s report some of the revenue and expenditure projections presented in the budget “are not reasonable.” The report states that revenues for the mortgage tax, revenues from the community preservation fund (CPF) to cover town expenses as a result of administering the fund, beach parking permits, and the federal aid for a bike path in the town are overestimated. It adds that a number of appropriations are “understated.”

According to the state comptroller, the proposed budget for 2009 estimates $4.5 million in revenues from mortgage tax. The report notes that while the town received mortgage tax revenues in 2006 and 2007 reaching $7 million, in 2008 the town has only received $4.2 million “as a result of the current economic downturn.”

“With the downturn continuing, it is unwise for the board to estimate a revenue increase for 2009,” reads the report. 

During the Thursday work session, the town board agreed to cut $500,000 from the projected mortgage tax revenue figures – one of the largest additions to the spending plan made throughout the day. Despite the change, board members did say they believed revenues would ultimately be higher than what is now projected in the 2009 budget.

The report also points to $250,000 projected in revenues from charging town residents $25 for resident beach permits as questionable. The town has proposed charging for the permits annually – a practice already in place in the Town of Southampton, but one East Hampton has never implemented. However, the comptroller notes the town clerk’s office only issued 6,863 permits to residents at no charge in 2008. At $25 apiece that would result in $171,575 in funds.

On Thursday, supervisor Bill McGintee noted that residents have not been required to come back for the free permits each year, but only when a permit is needed for a new vehicle. He argued because of that, the number of residents who would pay for their annual permit this year would likely be greater than the number of permits granted last year.

The report also suggests the board take a second look at projected Federal grants for a bike path, as money it expected to receive last year never materialized, and expressed concerns about a proposed $420,000 earmark to cover management of the town’s Community Preservation Fund. The comptroller’s office simply states because accounting of these costs in the past was not provided, it has difficulty determining whether this expenditure is reasonable.

A number of appropriations have also been underestimated, states the report, specifically in employee health benefits, for personal services for the town police department, which is in the midst of contract negotiations with the town, and for auditing services.

After some discussion, and at the request of the comptroller, the town board agreed to pay $710,000 to the YMCA RECenter. The town is contractually obligated to pay the grant, but had considered accepting a proposal by the YMCA to enter into a five-year funding contract with the RECenter in return for the organization agreeing to the reduction in funding by over $100,000 this year. The board chose instead to fulfill the last year of its contractual obligation to the YMCA and renegotiate funding next year.

The comptroller also suggested a contingency fund, $1.1 million, that is used to cover unforeseen expenditures be beefed up. On Thursday, McGintee said he believed the contingency appropriated was sufficient and he would provide more information to the state.

On Thursday the board also agreed to reinstate funding to a number of youth-related organizations in the town – organizations that saw their grants cut in the first round of the budget in the face of a looming town tax increase. The East Hampton Day Care Center’s $25,000 reduction in grant assistance from the town was restored, as was $7,500 for the town’s youth court program.

In other budget news, the East Hampton Town Democratic Committee issued a statement this week on the proposed 2009 budget, which it said it was “disappointed by.”

“The budget makes no significant cuts in any town spending,” states the letter. “With the unconscionable exception of cuts to social and educational services, there is scarce evidence in this budget of the things most municipalities do in a budget crisis, such as cutting expenses, nonessential projects, activities and purchases.”




East Hampton Residents Lobby Town Board to Fund Youth Programming

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 Finding a parking space at East Hampton Town Hall on Tuesday morning was difficult at best as dozens of residents crowded a hearing on the proposed 2009 budget, many calling for the board to reinstate funding for youth recreation and cultural programs. A number of programs have seen severe cuts in grant assistance from the town as it tries to meander through creating a budget in the face of a multi-million dollar deficit.

Under the newly released proposed 2009 budget, residents in the Town of East Hampton are looking down the barrel of a 22-percent tax increase, up from the 18-percent tax increase presented in the tentative $67 million budget. According to East Hampton Town Supervisor Bill McGintee, the increase comes despite the fact the town board made some $250,000 in cuts from the tentative budget, in part due to a contractual obligation to fund the East Hampton YMCA RECenter. The RECenter is slated to receive $600,000, down from just over $700,000. The town had originally cut funding to the RECenter before realizing it had another year in its obligation to fund the facility to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

McGintee added that increases in the proposed budget have also been made in estimated salary increases for police officers, and debt service on loans the town is paying back to cover a projected debt that could reach as high as $12 million by the end of 2009.

But on Tuesday, October 28, town hall was packed with residents more concerned with the lack of funding for programs geared towards the youth of East Hampton. While their voices made up a majority of the pleas uttered during the hearing, a number of residents also decried the proposed tax increases, calling for a stop to the conversion of a number of historic homes into a new town hall, as well as asking for a hiring freeze – some even going as far to say that jobs should be cut.

In the proposed budget over $120,000 has been cut in grant assistance from the town to organizations like local chambers of commerce, school parent teacher organizations, the East Hampton Day Care, Guild Hall and The Retreat, to name a few. Virtually all the groups had representation at the hearing, many pointing out to the board that their funding is limited, coming from the town, through fundraising and dues, and through minimal grants from the county and state.

Ruth Appelhof, executive director of Guild Hall, was the first to speak, urging the board to reconsider its decision to cut financing to the theatre and gallery, which has operated in the town for some 77 years. Appelhof noted Guild Hall prides itself on its educational outreach to the 11 schools in the Town of East Hampton, which in part was funded through the original $17,000 the town granted to the cultural institution. In the last three years, noted Appelhof, funding has decreased to $15,000, but this year, in the face of possibly receiving no assistance from the town, Appelhof said she was very concerned about the future of programs like drama literacy, Art Link, the Student Arts Festival and Word Up, a four week workshop for children with special needs in the town.

“We have 40,000 people come to Guild Hall every year and there is no one more important than the kids of our community,” said Appelhof.

“I am against the size of this tax increase,” said resident, businessman and volunteer fireman Michael Forst plainly. “I am against cutting any child related services.”

Forst said the East Hampton community was just beginning to feel the impact of the worldwide financial crisis, and the budget needs to be looked at critically and cut wherever possible to limit the size of a tax increase this year. Forst said, “… government needs to shrink,” and went as far to say that may mean jobs need to be cut. 

“I am here today to cry for help,” said Jennifer Wilson, a single mom of two young daughters and a board member of the East Hampton Day Care.

The day care center is looking at a 25 percent decrease in assistance from $100,000 to $75,000. Wilson noted that the center provides care to those who pay tuition and those who cannot afford it, offering education, recreation and breakfast and lunch. Wilson added that with the economic crisis likely to hit home, the day care center will be an even more essential necessity for residents in the town of East Hampton, many of whom will not be able to afford private child care.

“So I am asking for help on behalf of the smallest members of our community,” she said.

Thomas Quinn, superintendent of The Springs School, spoke on behalf of Project Most – a popular after school program for children in grades kindergarten through eighth grade held at a number of schools in the town – and the town’s youth court program, both of which are looking at funding cuts.

“Project Most is an essential program at Springs School,” said Quinn, noting the after school program has grown to serve over 100 children and while the school does set aside money to fund the service, it needs assistance from the town.

The youth court, added Quinn, whose own children have been a part of, is also a crucial program, providing children the opportunity to learn about the justice system, as well as the effect of one’s actions on the community at large.

Debbie Skinner, director of the Youth Advocacy Resource Development (YARD) program, which was founded a decade ago by Sag Harbor School District administration and school board to provide programming for at risk youth, also approached the board in hopes of having that program’s funding reinstated through the $5,000 grant the town usually provides to the Pierson PTSA.

“I just have to take a deep breath because I know what [the board] is going through,” said Laraine Creegan, director of the Montauk Chamber of Commerce. Creegan noted the importance of the chamber of commerce in bringing tourism – a major source of the region’s economy – to the area. Revenues are increased, she noted, in the number of people the chambers entice to the town each season through advertising and events.

“It is essential for the chamber to market the East End,” she said, noting a majority of the chamber’s funding actually comes from fundraising and dues.

While a number of speakers were at the hearing on behalf of organizations, another group of residents offered their opinions on what the town can do to keep tax increases at a minimum.

Amagansett resident Robert Wick advocated that the town eliminate the autumn leaf pick up program, which would save about half a million dollars a year. While the leaf pick up program is in place for this season, Wick said the Montauk and Amagansett Citizen Advisory Committees have both agreed it should be eliminated in the future. Wick noted mowing leaves back into a lawn is actually healthier for the grass.

“The East Hampton Business Alliance is deeply concerned about budget issues,” said a solemn Margaret Turner. Turner charged the town has overspent and has not been open or public in its budget process. She said independent, competent budget advisors were necessary in the town, and called for an immediate freeze on hiring, with the exception of “a qualified business administrator.” Turner also suggested overtime be eliminated, as well as salary raises and asked the town move forward in a fashion where it incurs less legal expenses.

East Hampton Town resident Joe Lombardi added he would like to see spending frozen on all historic projects, including the town hall project, which drew applause from the audience. He also said the pool of town vehicles should be reduced, the town should start charging fees for outdoor events on the town beaches and land preservation should cease.

“I love hiking in our beautiful trails, but enough is enough … we can always go and buy land when we have enough funds,” he said.

The town board will continue to accept written comments on the budget through November 4, said board member Pete Hammerle, and will discuss all comments on the spending plan at its Thursday, November 6 meeting. 


Buckskill Winter Club Wins Case Against Town

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It appears as if East Hampton residents will not have to wait for town pond to freeze over before polishing their skates this winter. Late last week, a judge ordered the East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals to issue the Buckskill Winter Club a certificate of occupancy for its ice rink.

In a decision dated October 17, New York State Supreme Court Justice Arthur G. Pitts annulled the zoning board’s determination denying Doug and Kathryn DeGroot’s appeal for a certificate of occupancy for their seasonal ice rink, and ordered the board to issue the document.

According to DeGroot’s attorney, Theodore Sklar, winning the case paves the way for the popular ice rink to reopen this winter after dormancy for the last two years.

“Hopefully we will be skating shortly,” said Sklar. “I know Rockefeller Plaza is already open.”

The town has had an injunction preventing the club from operating during the last two years while the case was being hammered out. The town still does have the ability to appeal the case, although it is the DeGroots’ hope, said Sklar, that it will instead choose to work with the club rather than expend more money fighting the case.

The decision is the latest in what has been a three-year battle between the owners of the Buckskill Winter Club and the Town of East Hampton.

In December of 2004, the town passed a law permitting the construction of seasonal ice rinks on the club’s tennis courts in East Hampton. In mid-December of that year, the DeGroots filed an application with the town to convert four of their tennis courts into an ice rink, which at the time required only a building permit. They opened for their first season in January 2005, albeit without a certificate of occupancy for the ice rink, which would become the crux of the town’s case against the club in years to come.

Following the Buckskill Winter Club’s first season, in response to complaints from a handful of neighbors around the club, the town board passed a new law breaking ice rinks into two tiers for town approval. Seasonal ice rinks like the one already at Buckskill, which exceed 7,200 square feet, require site plan approval, not just a building permit, under that law.

It was during the DeGroots’ second season operating as an ice rink that they were denied a certificate of occupancy by East Hampton’s building inspector Don Sharkey. Without the certificate of occupancy, the Winter Club would not be considered pre-existing, non-conforming to the new town law, meaning the DeGroots would have to go back before the town planning board for site plan approval before they could legally operate.

In a January 2008 hearing of the zoning board of appeals, Sharkey asserted that when he inspected the rink in 2005 for the certificate of occupancy he found items at the club that he said constituted structures that were not covered under the DeGroots’ original building permit. In a 2006 letter to the zoning board, Sharkey listed the items, which included a shed for the Zamboni, a generator, an American with Disabilities Act compliant ramp and the dasher boards with glass backstops.

Following Sharkey’s denial of the certificate of occupancy, and after seeking relief from the zoning board in August of 2006 and being denied in the fall of that year, the DeGroot’s filed suit against the town.

In an October 2007 decision, Justice Pitts ordered the zoning board to re-hear the DeGroots’ case to overturn the denial with him in attendance. Sklar had argued to the court that he was unable to cross-examine Sharkey at the first zoning board hearing as he was not present, only sending correspondence to the board stating his case for refusal. The court also deemed in the cross-examination, the DeGroots should be given the opportunity to find out how they could comply and obtain a certificate of occupancy.

In January of 2008, the zoning board did re-hear the case, with Sharkey cross-examined in front of the board.

At the new hearing, Sharkey continued to maintain he was unaware of the scope of the project the DeGroot’s were planning at the Winter Club – a statement Doug DeGroot contended was false.

Sklar also argued in front of the board that many of the structures cited by Sharkey had since been removed, including a Zamboni shed and generator. The ADA compliant ramp was not removed, and Sklar added that the dasher boards with glass backstops were allowed by the town code under the definition for a playing court, including an ice rink.

Despite the testimony, in February of 2008, the board denied the DeGroot’s appeal for a second time, ruling these aspects of the rink were not included in the original building permit. They did choose to omit the dasher boards and glass, agreeing with Sklar’s interpretation of the town code.

Pitts disagreed with the board, and citing testimony from the zoning board hearing last January, struck down their decision.

In addition to agreeing with the DeGroot’s that the club is in fact a pre-existing, non-conforming entity to the town’s two-tier ice rink law, Pitts noted Sharkey himself admitted at the zoning board hearing that the Zamboni shed and generator had been removed from the property. As the board had already agreed with the DeGroot’s contention that the dasher boards and glass were legal under the town code all that remained on Sharkey’s list of unapproved structures was the ADA-compliant ramp.

Pitts simply points to a question asked by Sklar at the zoning board hearing, and Sharkey’s corresponding answer as evidence the ramp should not be considered an issue in the way of the town granting the club’s certificate of occupancy.

“Well, is there any reason why you couldn’t issue a C.O. for an ice rink that allows disabled people to get on the ice rink,” asked Sklar.

“Of course not,” replied Sharkey.



Town Moves Toward Keeping All Runways

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The Springs Fire House was filled with local pilots on Tuesday morning concerned over plans to possibly eliminate runway 4-22 at the East Hampton Airport.
Representing the Save East Hampton Airport Group, Bill Esseks informed the board that 100 percent of Long Island airports have a runway similar to 4-22. The runway runs in a southwesterly direction to accommodate the prevailing winds in the area.
Tom Gibbons told the board that every one knows the safest way to land and take off, particularly in a small aircraft, is into the wind. And local pilot Bruno Schwenk said not only do pilots know that, but ducks and geese do as well.
The controversy over 4-22 began at a work session two weeks ago when the town board was discussing the airport layout plan that has been in the works for over two years. It had been decided at another work session that the plan would focus on repairing and maintaining runway 4-22, which has been shut down for over a decade, to be used as the secondary runway at the airport. However at the work session two weeks ago, the option of making runway 16-34 the secondary runway instead of 4-22 was discussed.
Town Councilwoman Julia Prince recalled the meeting and said, “It was presented [by the consultants] to us to scratch 4-22 and go with 16-34 instead.”
The rationale was because the take off patterns for 4-22 go directly over residential neighborhoods. She said, though, that the missing information at that work session was the notion of the prevailing winds.
Town supervisor Bill McGintee tried to calm the crowd on Tuesday, saying, “The discussion two weeks ago was not meant to abandon 4-22. It was meant to take a harder look at 16-34.”
Audience members on Tuesday speculated that the need to take a harder look at 16-34 was politically motivated.
“The town board was not stupid in 1932 when it created three runways,” said Tom Twomey. “They built all three for a good reason. So why would you decide all of a sudden to cut out a runway? I’ll tell you why. Political influence from neighbors.”
McGintee said the town was not in the position of ignoring those neighbors’ concerns.
“It’s easy to say, they built by the airport so the hell with them; but we don’t have the luxury of doing that,” said the supervisor.
Also debated on Tuesday was whether or not the town should accept money from the Federal Aviation Administration. Currently the town is working on a financial model to see whether or not the airport can be self-sustaining without help from the FAA. Critics in the audience said the only reason not to take the money from the FAA would be a political one as well.
Local pilot Bill Berkowski said the way he saw it, the town’s hesitancy to approve FAA funding was because they would have less control over the airport. He said taking money from the FAA would not allow the town to close down a runway during the day to appease those who may be “sipping tea on their front porches.”
Prince said on Wednesday, “Personally I think it would be unwise to not accept money from the FAA. Regardless of whether or not we accept it, they still kind of have their say. They control the place.”
She said the assumption over the years has been if the town accepts funding from the outside agency, they would not have control over the airport. She said, though, even if the town refuses funding, the FAA still runs the show to an extent.
It was decided on Tuesday that the town would move forward with a Draft Environmental Impact Statement on alternative two of the airport layout study. That alternative makes 4-22 the secondary runway and also utilizes 16-34 as an alternate runway.
“We are closer to finalizing this than anybody has been in along time,” said the supervisor, referring to two abandoned layout studies over the past two decades. “And we will get this done, if not to the full satisfaction of everybody, but at least to a passing grade of satisfaction.”

Top Photo: Tom Twomey addresses the audience at Tuesday’s brown bag session at the Springs Firehouse in East Hampton.