Tag Archive | "nancy graboski"

Town Board Approves $80.3 Million 2012 Budget

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By Claire Walla

Last week, the town of Southampton unanimously approved a 2012 Adopted Budget that would represent a tax levy of approximately $63.8 million. According to the supervisor’s office, the exact calculation for what next year’s spending cost would be is still being tallied.

While this budget will be less than Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s preliminary $80.2 million spending plan, it still represents a 1.2 percent tax levy increase over this year’s operating budget. The supervisor had created a zero-percent increase in her proposed budget. But the 1.2 percent tax levy increase incorporated into the adopted budget still resides within the two-percent tax levy cap local governments throughout the state of New York must abide by for the 2012 fiscal year.

For a resident living in a home assessed at $600,000 outside an incorporated village in the town of Southampton, this represents a tax increase of $18.48, bringing town taxes up from $816 to $834. For residents within incorporated villages with homes assessed at $600,000, this would represent a reduction of about $24.21 on their tax bill.

In total, the town board will see 19 voluntary retirements from those taking advantage of the town’s retirement incentive. Employees will receive an additional $1,000 per every year of service to the town upon their retirement this year.

One of the greatest topics of conversation leading up to last Friday’s vote was the town’s police department. The supervisor had laid-out plans to reduce the staff by eight senior officers. However, the town board ultimately voted to force into retirement only three senior officers, who will retire by the end of the year along with four senior officers who had already planned to retire in 2012.

Town board members have the authority to force into retirement any police officer who has served for at least 20 years on the force. Though never enacted before, this provision to town code was implemented decades ago during contract negotiations between the town board and the police union.

The board’s Republican majority — Jim Malone, Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski — voted in favor of the revised plan, which would retire three members of the Police Benevolence Association (PBA) instead of those officers who are members of the Superior Officers’ Association (SOA). Bridget Fleming voted against it and Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst abstained.

What’s more, board members also voted 3–2 against the supervisor’s proposed plan to spend nearly $700,000 on technology upgrades at the town police department. The program would purportedly have cut-down on the amount of time it takes officers to generate paper documentation and according to Throne-Holst, it would have saved the department money over time. But the board’s majority members, while supportive of the overall idea, felt it best to be more fiscally prudent in these economic times.

Southampton: Top Cop Aims To Trim Operations

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By Claire Walla

Southampton Town Police Chief Bill Wilson admitted last Friday, November 4 that his department has, in fact, spent $225,000 more than its allotted overtime funds due primarily to changes in the department that he implemented when he took office last May.

However, he said, those costs don’t represent the full story.

Though the overtime budget is currently in the red, Chief Wilson said he has a vision for the department that will not only solve the overtime dilemma, but will bring more financial stability for the police department for the years to come.

“I think we can agree that the Southampton Town Police Department, operationally, has been on an austerity budget for quite some time,” Wilson began. “In looking at the long-term health and longevity of the police department over the next 20 years, I was tasked with finding significant savings [when appointed as police chief ].”

For fiscal year 2012, that total is $1.5 million, which is currently built into the supervisor’s Preliminary Budget. That cost savings is laid-out in a plan to trim the police department by eight members, using a stipulation in all officers’ contracts with the town that allows town officials to force officers who have reached 20 years of service into retirement. (Under Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s plan, officers who have 25 years of service or more will be affected.)

While Southampton Town Comptroller Tamara Wright recently said this formula has been complicated by the fact that fire service has now been thrown into the mix of what constitutes an officers’ employment with the town — the number of officers now eligible for retirement has risen to 12 — the chief maintains that trimming his staff in this way is the most effective for the department.

“There has been some concern with the department’s ability to operate with a certain amount of ‘brain drain,’” he said, referring to the fact that those forced into retirement would be the town’s senior officers with the most experience.

“We have talented people in those positions,” he continued, “But we have talented people waiting to fill those positions. So, at no time would public safety be jeopardized.”

He went on to explain that part of his reorganization would be removing superior officers from positions that he said could easily be “civilianized.” Wilson said that the lieutenant currently responsible for the office of emergency management — “an expert in the field” — has agreed to come back to the department after his retirement next August on a part-time or consultant basis in order to train a “civilian” to do the job.

Similarly, the chief said that a current sergeant interested in taking the town’s retirement incentive has agreed to come back to the department to work in an administrative, civilian position.

“In doing so, that would allow me to be able to flatten out the current command structure,” Wilson commented.

His goal, as he has explained it, is to get more uniformed officers out of the office and onto the streets.

In speaking to the longevity of the department, Wilson also told town board members that he hopes to make better use of technology to streamline procedures within the department that, as of now, are “archaic.” After adding that he has been asked to trim current staffing levels down to 90 (he said there were 96 when he first took command), operations will have to be streamlined.

That cannot be done “without the automization of a substantial amount of the services we perform — filling out paperwork, records management, processing evidence,” he added.

In one sense, Wilson continued, overtime numbers increase “because of the amount of uncommitted officer time — there is a report generated for every single thing that we do.”

But cutting back on those reports is not an option.

“One of the primary purposes of law enforcement is documentation,” Wilson said. “It’s just the way that the documentation is done that takes up time.”

The board went into executive session to discuss the finer details of Wilson’s plan regarding which specific staff members he proposes moving to higher positions to fill the spots of those expected to take retirement or be forced into retirement. However, though the board discussed Wilson’s plan for reorganizing his staff, Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst noted that she would be continuing discussion with the department’s two main unions: the Superior Officers’ Association (SOA) and the Police (PBA).

Should an agreement be reached or should the board decide not to force officers into retirement, Wilson noted that it would affect his carefully mapped out plan for a reorganization that would result in $1.5 million in savings.

Pointing to the fact that the new measurement for retirement eligibility at 25 years now includes 12 officers instead of eight, Councilman Jim Malone said that decreasing the department by 12 officers “is not sustainable,” adding that that would mark a drop-off of nearly 50 percent.

As discussions continue about the future of the town’s police department, Malone said he wanted to see more options than the what’s currently laid-out in the Preliminary Budget (retiring those who have accumulated 25 years of service).

“While it’s a viable choice, the choice of one is not really a choice in my mind,” he said. “There’s got to be a contingency plan.”

Town Cops Bust OT By $225,000

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By Claire Walla

Much to the surprise of all members of the Southampton Town board, the Southampton Town Police Department has already spent $225,000 more than was allotted in its 2011 overtime budget — and it continues to accrue more debt.

At a town board work session held last Friday, October 28 the board met with Lieutenant Bob Pearce, Deputy Town Comptroller Kathy Scott and Town Management Services Administrator Russell Kratoville to discuss how the police department managed to run such a high deficit. Police Chief Bill Wilson was unavailable last week, though he is scheduled to address the issue again at this Friday’s work session, November 4.

According to Pearce, there are several factors for the overtime shortage. Not only was the department overworked in the wake of Tropical Storm Irene, he said a recent shortage of staff has contributed to the need to dip into overtime. The department has lost four officers, bringing its force down to 92, and there are currently eight officers who are out, six of whom are being replaced in their absence.

Councilman Chris Nuzzi demanded to know why, from 2008 through 2011, when there wasn’t a huge variance in the number of police officers, “there is a huge variance in overtime,” he said. “I think drilling down to the details is necessary to see how these numbers shifted.”

Pearce further explained that when Chief Wilson joined the town he increased the number of sectors with 24-hour patrol from seven to eight, adding an additional patrol car for the Flanders/Riverside area, which Pearce said studies have showed has a relatively high rate of crime and warrants 24-hour patrol.

Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said that it’s important to maintain eight sectors of patrol.

“We saw a very active season this year and there was a commensurate rise in crime activity that needed to be investigated,” she said.

For that reason, Throne-Holst said that the rise in costs came from the detective division.

According to figures read off by Russel Kratoville, the detective division generated 91 hours of overtime in July, 170 hours in August, 120 in September and 150 hours during the first 15 days of October.

For Nuzzi, the crux of the issue goes beyond the reasons why the department has accrued this debt, he is concerned with the town’s immediate dilemma. With two months left in this fiscal year, he emphasized the fact that there is currently a zero in the budget line for the department’s overtime pay.

“How are we going to be able to shift resources around to deal with this?” he asked.

The board had previously authorized shifting $175,000 from the department’s retirement fund to off-set this deficit, but that was before it was revealed that these overtime costs are rising.

“I just want to add that I felt as though I was caught,” Councilwoman Nancy Graboski said. “I didn’t know that we were in this position in the first place. I would have felt a whole lot better about authorizing the money if I had known prior to that — or if we had had something in the way of advisory — that there was no more money left.”

Southampton Town Tightens 2012 Budget

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By Claire Walla

Elements of the 2012 tentative budget met with stiff resistance last Monday, October 3 when Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst presented her $80.3 million spending plan. The tentative budget — just shy of this year’s current $81.6 million operating budget — seeks to impose a zero-percent tax levy increase, while at the same time absorbing a $5.1 million increase in fixed costs for state-mandated programs like health insurance and pensions.

For the average homeowner on the Southampton side of Sag Harbor Village  with a house valued at $600,000, town taxes are estimated to be $236, which is $25 lower than the approximate amount village residents paid in 2010.

Based on this year’s tentative budget, a town homeowner outside an incorporated village can expect to pay $835 in town taxes for a home assessed at $600,000. This is estimated to be an $18 increase from 2010.

Your tax rate can be calculated by multiplying each $1,000 of assessed value of your home by 1.391. So, for a home worth $600,000, you would multiply 600 by 1.391 to get $835. That would be your projected tax rate for Southampton Town outside of incorporated villages.

These figures do not include school district taxes.

In order to shrink the town’s budget by more than $5 million without raising taxes, Throne-Holst said it will require taking a “surgical” look at how the town’s services are staffed, organized and presented to the public. While the supervisor has outlined plans for eliminating upwards of 28 positions across all departments, the most sweeping change, for some, will affect law enforcement.

The proposal to cut eight to 10 members of the Southampton Town Police Department’s senior staff is “outrageous,” said a noticeably flustered Councilwoman Nancy Graboski in an interview directly following the supervisor’s presentation.

In order to chop $1.7 million from the police department’s budget, Throne-Holst seeks to implement the town’s “Twenty Years of Service” provision, which, by law, gives the town the authority to “separate from service” those officers who have worked for the town for 20 years or more, awarding them full retirement benefits upon departure. However, Throne-Holst said the town will only have to narrow-in on those eight officers who have served at least 25 years or more to achieve the desired amount of savings.

Throne-Holst said she recognized this tactic will remove senior and therefore more experienced officers from the force, but she added that the department will be able to “fill [positions] from below at a much lower cost.”

This maneuver also feeds into the supervisor’s plan — which was jointly created with Southampton Town Police Chief Bill Wilson — to make the department less “top heavy.”

“The idea is to have more cops and cars on the streets,” rather than in the office doing more administrative tasks, she said.

However, Graboski said she feels it is rather hasty for the town to reorganize the police department from the top down without a more strategic plan for replacing personnel.

“That infrastructure hasn’t been put in place,” she said.

Graboski referred to a plan that was suggested back in 2008 by the then-supervisor, Linda Kabot, to gradually trim the police force by two to three officers each year. It was never enacted.

“The important thing was to use objective criteria,” she continued.

According to Kabot’s suggestion at the time, officers’ attendance records would be reviewed over a five-year term and those officers with weaker performance records would be let go.

In an interview on Monday, Kabot — who had attended the supervisor’s budget presentation — seemed equally perturbed by the proposed budget cuts.

“These proposals [to cut the police force, implement staff layoffs and reorganize departments at town hall] are dusting off ones I had put on the floor a few years ago,” she announced.

Kabot, who is mounting a write-in campaign for supervisor against Throne-Holst in this fall’s election, further criticized the proposed plan to make cuts to the police department only at the very top.

“It is clearly a public statement on the newly founded Superior Officers’ Association (SOA),” said Kabot.

Several members of the SOA attended Monday’s meeting to voice their concerns.

Cutting eight employees “will be devastating to the police department,” Sergeant Michael Zarrow said on behalf of the group.

While the department had budgeted for 96 officers this year, he went on to say that it is now down to 92 based on retirements.

Sergeant Scott Foster added, “The SOA told this town we’re still open to negotiating.”

In addition to those eight members of the police force, the town expects to see six civilian retirements, based on responses from those expressing strong interest in retirement incentives proposed by the town this year. Similar to what the state was offering last year, town employees who choose to retire this year will receive a cash bonus upon departure of $1,000 for each year of service to the town.

But the town will also be eliminating 14 positions, including two attorneys from the town attorney’s office, and positions in the information technology department, land management department, tax receiver’s office, tax assessor’s office and others. The supervisor would not discuss the names of individuals affected by these proposed cuts.

What’s more, the proposed budget aims to curb health insurance costs. Next year, it would be required that all elected officials and non-union administrative employees contribute to their health plans, while benefits for all members of the zoning board of appeals and the planning board would be eliminated.

In terms of reorganization, the supervisor hopes to combine administrative services — particularly at the police department, which she said now uses “archaic” methods for keeping records.

And at town hall she said she hopes to create a Constituent Response Center, which would be operated by one employee and serve as a hub for all departments.

The response center, to be operated by the town’s current citizen’s advocate, Ryan Horn, would be “a first step to establishing centralized citizen information and response services,” Throne-Holst said. It would effectively eliminate two town hall positions.

“While the town certainly regrets the loss of personnel, many of whom have served in positions of rank, the need for cost reductions, greater efficiency and a new view of how to provide police services, made this decision necessary,” the supervisor announced before the crowd Monday night. “We will also continue to explore, in collective bargaining and otherwise, ways to control our police labor costs.”

With the imminent approach of increased restrictions in the months preceding the state’s mandated two-percent tax levy cap (which will go into effect before next year’s budget), Throne-Holst said she chose to keep costs below that mark, mostly for strategic reasons.

Last year, the supervisor’s tentative budget proposed tax hikes of 2.4 percent, money that would be used to pay-down the town’s deficit and increase reserve funds. It was shot down by the town’s Republican majority in favor of a zero percent increase.

“This year I opted to say, ‘Here’s the zero [percent tax levy increase] in a way that I see as sustainable,” she explained. As she sees it, this way the town board has the flexibility to increase taxes by two percent, if it so chooses.

“If the goal is to get to zero, here’s how to do it with a well thought out, truly sustainable plan,” said Throne-Holst.

Order Comes to Pumpkintown

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Anyone who regularly takes Route 27 through Water Mill this time of year knows about Hank’s Pumpkintown.

After the season officially launches this Saturday, September 24 the sprawling 30-acre parcel packed with an apple orchard, play structures, a corn maze, a farm stand and — of course — a pumpkin patch will attract hundreds of families on any given day through the end of October.

But along with hoards of Halloween pumpkin pickers inevitably comes two rows of parked cars neatly packed along the shoulder on both sides of Route 27. With the sheer number of cars and families crossing the highway as they go to and from Pumpkintown, often this spells traffic.

However, this year, legislation passed by the New York State Department of Transportation (DOT) will restrict parking on the north side of the highway — across from Pumpkintown — from County Road 39 to Head of Pond Road. The legislation was approved in June at the request of the Southampton Town Board.

What’s more, last week Southampton Town issued additional parking restrictions on Fairbanks Court, a cul-de-sac across from Pumpkintown that runs alongside Duck Walk Vineyards, another spot where the field’s fall visitors often leave their vehicles. Both restrictions last from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., September 1 through November 15.

“There are issues of congestion in that area,” explained Southampton Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, who emphasized that the legislation was not spurred by complaints from residents; rather, “it was observation-driven.”

According to Graboski, the congestion caused by roadside parking in the area often made it difficult for emergency vehicles to pass. It also made visits to Pumpkintown especially precarious for those who chose to park on the north side of the street, in front of Duck Walk Vineyards, and cross the highway on foot to get to the field.

According to Pumpkintown owner Hank Kraszewski, the DEC’s parking restrictions will significantly limit the amount of congestion along Route 27, which will benefit everyone in the long run.

“It made me crazy when ambulances would go through,” Kraszewski said of the bottleneck in front of Pumpkintown.

In addition to supporting measures imposed by the town and the state, Kraszewski said he has opened a three-acre parcel in the midst of Pumpkintown to accommodate parking. (He estimates the lot could hold up to 375 cars.)

Kraszewski noted that an aerial shot of Pumpkintown from 2010 showed 100 cars parked along Route 27, which “was a real safety concern.”

The Pumpkintown owner said neighbors were very supportive of the measures to restrict parking, including Pumpkintown’s neighbor to the north, Duck Walk Vineyards — for the most part.

“I look at it this way: Is [the traffic] a slight inconvenience? For people driving by, yes. Do I have a problem with an influx of customers? Not at all,” stated tasting room manager Pam Przepiora.

This time of year, she said Duck Walk actually benefits from an increase in foot traffic due to the vineyard’s close proximity to Pumpkintown. And while she supports the town’s efforts to regulate traffic, in theory, she said no-parking signs will do little to prevent the pedestrian problem.

“People are still going to walk across the street to Duck Walk Vineyards with their children and their strollers,” she said. “I don’t understand why Southampton Town won’t just give us a traffic cop.”

Kraszewski and Graboski worked closely with both government and law enforcement officials to solve the parking predicament — most notably Town Fire Marshall Cheryl Kraft and Town Transportation Director Tom Neely.

The group discussed different options, including putting a crosswalk in the area and hiring a crossing guard. But ultimately it was decided that enforcement needed to come from the state as Route 27 is under the state’s jurisdiction.

“The town police were of the opinion that unless you put up ‘no parking’ signs, there’s nothing you could do [to calm traffic],” Kraszewski recalled. According to Kraszewski, the problem with hiring a TCO was in trying to get all pedestrians to cross the road in the same spot.

However, he added that no option has been removed from the table entirely. Should traffic problems persist through this pumpkin-picking season, he said he and town board officials will revisit the issue.

Honoring Graboski

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web Graboski Love Fest

Nancy Graboski was overwhelmed Tuesday evening — but in a good way.

The Southampton Town councilwoman, who will not be seeking re-election this year, was lauded by peers and members of the Noyac Civic Council on Tuesday during the council’s regular monthly meeting.

“If the intention was to make me feel special, you’ve succeeded,” Graboski told the audience of about 30, which also included a guest appearance by former Southampton Supervisor Linda Kabot.

The councilwoman, who hails from Bridgehampton, was praised in particular for her efforts on behalf of the local farmers and her work on establishing a comprehensive guide for town residents on hurricane preparedness.

“During this past hurricane, we got a pat on the back,” said current town supervisor Anna Throne-Holst. “much to the thanks of Nancy and her efforts.”

State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele, Jr. — himself a former Southampton Town supervisor — noted it was important to thank people for the public service they do.

“The east side of the town has always been well served by you, as both a member of the planning board and the town board, especially when addressing agricultural issues from the point of view of the farmer,” said Thiele. “When you got Nancy Graboski, you got what she thought was going to be right for the community — and sometimes that got her in trouble with her own party.”

Kabot, too, lauded Graboski’s “independent mindedness,” and ticked off a list of issues Graboski had tackled, including Dark Skies legislation, traffic safety, speed limits and land preservation, among others.

“Thank you Nancy for being my friend,” said Kabot before announcing there will be a retirement party for Graboski on November, 10 at Oakland’s Restaurant in Hampton Bays.

Also at Tuesday’s meeting was Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman who gave the members an overview of issues he’s addressing, including a proposed 5-cent fee on plastic bags used in grocery stores and supermarkets in an effort to deter their use. Revenue would go to fund environmental programs.

“Let me know what you think,” Schneiderman said when taking a straw poll in the room. Of those voting, 11 were in favor of the legislation, and 13 opposed (three of whom felt the law did not go far enough).

Locally, Schneiderman said the county was just about to break ground on a $600,000, 2-mile long sidewalk along the turnpike, from Main Street, Bridgehampton, to Scuttle Hole Rd.

The legislator also said the county has just formed a committee with the Village of Sag Harbor to discuss the future of Long Wharf — which the county owns but the village maintains and collects revenues from.

The wharf costs the county about $100,000 a year, and Schneiderman said he is considering ways to cover that expense, including creating a fundraising group — the Friends of Long Wharf.

“The ideas I know I don’t like are paid parking and selling the naming rights,” he said.

Luxury Events Nixed

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By Claire Walla

When luxury event planning company Gilt City was banished from its Hamptons headquarters at a house on Fithian Lane in East Hampton just last week, the New York City-based company packed up and moved west.

After securing a rental at 1432 Scuttlehole Road in Bridgehampton — another home zoned in a residential district — Gilt City continued to advertise high-priced Hamptons sojourns, which were to be based out of the Bridgehampton home. Southampton Town officials were not pleased.

“What we’re doing today is taking action,” Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said at a special board meeting held last Friday, August 12. With regard to two walk-on resolutions introduced by Councilwoman Nancy Graboski — one in reference to the house in Bridgehampton and the other in reference to a similar case at 2136 Deerfield Road in Noyac — the board voted unanimously to grant Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato the authority to “take any action necessary” to eliminate these illegal rental scenarios.

With regard to Deerfield Road, Mark Humphrey, a neighbor of the alleged party house, said before the town board: “This house is a nightmare.”

He continued to explain that the house has been “a nightmare” for four consecutive summers. “I have called the police on this particular renter no less than five times this summer,” he added. “One time, I couldn’t’ even find my driveway, there were so many cars… and I live across the street!” He estimated there have been up to 30 cars spilling out from the property’s main drive on any given night.

“The Town of Southampton has taken a hard stance on these kinds of situations, where a residential property is being used [illegally], whether as a prom house or a party house,” Graboski continued. She noted that the town adopted a more stringent rental code a few years ago, which grants town officials more control over rental properties in Southampton.

“And we’ve tightened up our special events law,” she continued. While “not-for-profits or entities that will benefit non-for-profits [are permitted] to hold special events, that’s usually on a one-night basis,” she clarified. More importantly, she added, “the law does not permit the operation of a business” out of a rental property.

Punctuating the importance of this decision, Councilman Jim Malone requested to be a co-sponsor of the resolution because of what he twice referred to as the “gravity of the situation.” Councilwoman Bridget Fleming followed his lead, co-sponsoring the resolution, as well.

Town Attorney Tiffany Scarlato said because both homes have been issued a number of violations, including having no rental or special event permits, she is seeking a temporary restraining order (TRO) against them, which would bar the current renters from occupying the homes. As of this week, Scarlato said “the TRO was denied,” though she wouldn’t elaborate on the reasons why. However, representatives for both homes are due in court this Friday, August 19.

“The town will continue to keep a very sharp eye on exactly what’s going on in both of these houses,” Scarlato confirmed. “We will continue to act in a way that is beneficial for the neighborhood and the town.”

At least, Scarlato continued, since last Friday’s special board meeting “things were relatively quiet” at both homes over the weekend. While the town continues to take action to enforce the multiple violations issued both properties, Scarlato seemed pleased to know that, at the very least, Friday’s meeting helped quell the chaos.

A Word of Warning: It’s Hurricane Time

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By Claire Walla

Southampton Town has just released this year’s hurricane survival guide.
“Get ready,” the brochure reads. “Survival is everyone’s responsibility.”
It’s primarily this message that councilwoman Nancy Graboski wants to relay to those in the community. Graboski, who largely headed the effort to put this year’s hurricane survival guide together, announced its release as a Southampton Town work session last Friday, July 29.
“As you know, we in the Town of Southampton take hurricane preparedness very seriously,” Graboski stated. “While we don’t have power over the hurricane itself, we have the power to prepare.”
The survival guide is broken up into four sections: before the storm, landfall, after the storm and then general information (a section that includes information on past hurricanes in the area and a glossary of relevant terms). “One of the things we did differently [this year was] to try to expand our reach,” Grabsoki added. Though the town didn’t have enough funding this year to translate the entire guide into Spanish, “if you look toward the back [of the booklet], there are references in Spanish,” she said.
In addition, a post card providing a check-list of essentials residents are urged to keep on-hand in case of an emergency is available in English and Spanish.
To further delve into crucial weather-related details, the Southampton Town council invited David Wally, a tropical weather representative from the National Weather Service (NWS), to explain how storms occur and provided more insights into how the town should prepare in the event of such inclement weather.
“In a couple of weeks, we’ll be in the start of the season,” Wally explained, and added that this 2011 hurricane season is expected to be “above-normal,” as it was in 2010. Based on this year’s May forecast, Wally said there are 12 to 18 storms predicted this year (11 is normal) and of those there are three to six intense hurricanes predicted (two is normal).
These predictions are based on activity in the Atlantic basin off the coast of Africa. Wally said storms that hit the East End typically develop to the far-east and swing low into the Caribbean before sweeping up the east coast of the U.S. While storm activity is fairly easy to predict, Wally said landfall can change a hurricane’s direction and intensity fairly quickly, which means storm warnings can come with very little advanced notice. Citing examples from years past, Wally said hurricanes have been known to travel from the Carolinas to the greater New York area in just 24 hours.
Last season, Wally said there were 19 named storms, 12 of them hurricanes and five of those designated “major.” But there were no landfalls.
“I’m not trying to desensitize people,” Wally cautioned. “Be prepared. It only takes one. We can have five storms this year, and it could be that fifth one that can cause a catastrophe.”
Wally also explained that even if a hurricane does not make landfall on the East End, the effects can still be devastating.
“The wind field can be several hundred miles in diameter,” he said, adding that the area of impact predicted by the national weather service does not denote the potential impact of peripheral rain bands and the scope of the storm surge.
While the town’s survival guide cautions residents to be prepared with emergency equipment, foods and medicines for at least five to seven days, local arborist Mike Gaines, of CW Arborists, points out the importance of preparing one’s yard for inclement weather.
Noting that high winds and heavy rainfall can cause trees to tumble (which could lead injuries or even fatalities), Gaines emphasized the importance of homeowners contacting local arborists to have their trees inspected. For example, he said there was a tree last year in Springs that fell and “caused a lot of damage. A good portion of that could have been avoided with proper pruning techniques,” he explained.
While some trees certainly warrant removal, he said many seemingly damaged trunks are more worthy of preservation than many people might assume.
(Gaines will be discussing the finer details of tree preservation at a talk next Thursday, August 11 at Old Whalers Church in Sag Harbor.)
When it comes down to it, for Gaines and for Southampton Town council members: the name of the game is preparation.
“Please take these warnings seriously,” said Southampton Town Police Lt. Bob Iberger, who is in charge of the department’s emergency management team. “Coordinate with your friends and family to figure out where you need to go [in case of an emergency]. Prepare your home so that you can make your residence more able to survive [a storm]. Once these conditions turn to a certain stage, we’re not coming to get you.”
Hurricane survival guides are available at town hall, community centers and libraries throughout Southampton Town in paper form, and are also available in digital form online though the town’s website.

Noyac to Get New Boundaries

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web Noyac

By Bryan Boyhan

Southampton Town is about to adopt new boundary lines for all of its hamlets and for Noyac, that either means it’s going to be a bit bigger or a bit smaller, depending upon who you talk to.

As proposed the northern boundary is obvious, the bay, and the eastern boundary remains pretty much as everyone is familiar with: all the way across Long Beach to the Village of North Haven at Short Beach. The line jogs down along Noyac Road and the shoreline of the cove to the Village of Sag Harbor and Ligonee Creek. From there it travels south to Middle Line Highway where it then runs back west to Deerfield Road.

And here is where the controversy begins.

As proposed, the line will travel north and west, keeping the Northside Hills subdivision to the east and inside the Noyac hamlet. Crossing Noyac Road it would also take in Sunset Shores and Rawson Estates. These would be the western-most communities in the hamlet.

Which does not sit well with Sherri Kiselyak, who is co-chairman of the Noyac Citizens Advisory Committee. The proposed boundary actually puts her home in Glenview Hills, a couple hundred yards down the road, out of Noyac and into North Sea.

“The 2004 hamlet study made a recommendation that was further west,” maintains Kiselyak, who said that study placed the boundary at Whalebone Landing, which will now be excluded. In addition, Kiselyak said her research has shown local surveyors have long identified properties in her area as being in Noyac, and in fact her deed says she lives in Noyac.

But the town says they are actually giving Noyac more territory to the west. A map prepared during the master plan of the 1970s, and used by the town since then, shows the western end of Noyac to be Deerfield Road. But during the review of the hamlets, the town found that there were people who lived west of Deerfield who had 725 telephone exchanges, and sent their children to Sag Harbor schools.

“Their identity was clearly more Noyac,” said Southampton Town Councilperson Nancy Graboski. And the town re-drew the line — receiving the consent of the North Sea CAC — to follow the school district line, taking in all of Northside Hills.

But that still doesn’t satisfy Kiselyak, who said the “service lines” such as school districts and fire districts are not supposed to determine hamlet lines, and the CAC points to the hamlet study which says “the master plan did not do enough to take into consideration the boundaries of individual residential communities…”

At stake is the voice of the community when it comes to town matters, argued Kiselyak.

“We’re shrinking,” she said, “who’s going to listen to Noyac; they’re so small.”

The town is expected to adopt the boundaries at its meeting this Tuesday.

Cablevision Fees to Increase

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In 2010, Southampton Town residents will notice a slight increase in their Cablevision bills. The Southampton Town Board passed a law on Friday, November 13, raising the Cablevision franchise fees from 4 to 5 percent. These fees are tacked onto Cablevision customers’ monthly bills.

Due to the increase, residents subscribing to basic service will pay an additional 17 cents per month or roughly $2 annually. Customers with the family plan will pay 52 cents per month, or $6.24 per year. IO Silver subscribers should expect an increase of 76 cents per month, or a yearly increase of $9.12. Lastly, clients enrolling in the premium service, IO Gold, will pay a 91 cent raise in monthly fees, or $10.92 for the year.

Councilwoman Nancy Graboski said the town will receive $250,000 in additional revenue from this measure. Although supervisor Linda Kabot was absent on Friday, she has previously remarked that these revenues could re-instate funding for SEA-TV, youth programs and senior services.

Although councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst will officially take office in January of next year, she presided over the town board work session on Friday as supervisor LindaKabot was on vacation. The heavy rain and lousy weather no doubt kept the public at home. Only town employees, with the exception of incoming councilman Jim Malone, attended Friday’s budget hearing.

The hearings regarding the budget and piercing the five percent tax rate increase cap were adjourned until Friday, November 20. The board must file a final budget by then.

Similarly, a resolution allocating $275,000 in funding for video arraignments was tabled until this Friday’s meeting.