As Sag Harbor Trustees kick off their budget talks, the village is
looking at an estimated 1.39 percent tax increase over last year’s
$8,091,169 spending plan, $567,454 of which came from the village’s
sewer tax. However, with just one meeting behind them, the board is
considering several capital projects and vehicle purchases that could
push that increase even higher.
Not yet added to the proposed budget are hopes for the creation of a
village justice court, addressing erosion on West Water Street,
improvements to Sag Harbor’s historic Municipal Building, the
purchase of a new fire rescue boat and air packs for the Sag Harbor
Volunteer Fire Department and monies to fund the creation of a public
park between the L/Cpl Jordan Haerter Veterans Memorial Bridge and
the parcel known as Ferry Road.
On Tuesday, February 23 the board convened its first of several
planned budget meeting, speaking with department heads, village
treasurer Eileen Tuohy and trustees about their hopes for the next
“Health insurance costs have gone up as they have everywhere else,”
said Touhy. “Other than that everything is pretty level with what was
spent last year.”
Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride said a priority this year will be to
budget monies to deal with erosion on West Water Street, where the
beachfront adjacent to the street loses more and more ground with
Language exists in village approval for luxury condos on West Water
Street that discusses that developer’s role in the design and
implementation of a waterfront walkway across the street from the
site, where the erosion is occurring. However, the New York
Department of Environmental Conservation balked at any plan that
would disrupt the wetlands, preferring any walkway be constructed on
the streetscape, requiring re-engineering of the roadway, and a
possible loss of parking spaces.
On Tuesday, Gilbride said he was unsure what course of action the
village would take, but said at the very least it needs to
immediately address the eroding beachfront, while examining a long
range capital plan for the area.
Secondly, he said he would like to see old plans for a park next to
the village bridge revitalized, although costs for that project are
not expected to be unveiled until the board’s next budget meeting on
March 12 at 4 p.m.
Trustees are also considering a Sag Harbor justice court, a move
strongly supported by village police chief Tom Fabiano. According to
Gilbride, the estimated $100,000 needed to kick off that venture has
yet to be factored into the next budget and more solid figures will
be available at next month’s meeting.
Sag Harbor Volunteer Fire Department Chief Robert Mitchell requested
some of the largest departmental expenditures of the evening, seeking
monies to replace the department’s 53 air packs, which may cost
between $320,000 and $390,000.
“All the departments around us have been getting updated packs and we
have been using their orphans,” said Mitchell of his department.
While they had sought a grant to cover the cost, Mitchell said they
have yet to hear a response.
Mitchell noted they also have had issues with their fire rescue boat,
purchased in 1994, which has stress cracks, is water logged and needs
to have its engine replaced this summer. That, said Mitchell, could
cost anywhere from $150,000 to $500,000. The vessel is mainly used
for rescue operations, in the event of boat fires and other
waterfront areas fire department vehicles cannot reach and is used by
the dive team. After the meeting, Gilbride said he would look at
capital reserves to see what the village could afford to spend on the
In the police department, Chief Fabiano said he tried to keep his
budget in line with last year’s spending plan. In what he has already
submitted to the village, the chief is asking for another full time
officer as well as a vehicle. Sag Harbor also needs to add live scan
technology to its police department, which allows for digital
fingerprinting, although Fabiano said the county and the state will
cover a majority of the cost, except for about $900 a year in
The Sag Harbor Volunteer Ambulance Corps also needs a new vehicle,
but due to its reserve fund, the expense will not affect the village
budget. According to President Eddie Downes, he does need to replace
a first responder vehicle, but will be able to do so through the
department’s $144,000 reserve fund. The vehicle will cost roughly
$42,000 and the reserve fund will be replenished by any sale of the
old first responder.
Superintendent of Public Works Jim Early said his only major
equipment replacement would be a chipper, for $27,000. The current
one, he said, is so old parts are not available to repair it. Harbor
Master Bob Bori added he needs about $10,000 to repair Long Wharf and
the village’s B and transient docks.
“Every year since I have been here I would love to do something
here,” said Gilbride of the Municipal Building, which has empty third
and fourth floors that are not weight bearing or handicap accessible.
Early said the exterior of the building is also in need of repair.
As for Havens Beach, for which the village is exploring a remediation
plan, trustees said they felt a final plan may be a budget year off
and said they would wait for final testing results before choosing a
course of action.