By Mara Certic
Three of the five members of the Southampton Town Board have rejected their 2015 wage increases, requesting instead that the dollar amount of their 3-percent raises be returned to town funds.
At last week’s organizational meeting, when discussing a resolution to accept salary schedules for the five members of the Southampton Town Board, Councilwoman Christine Scalera and Councilman Stan Glinka asked to forego their $2,000 salary hike.
The salaries for the four members were slated to increase from $60,000 to $62,000 in the 2015 budget, which Ms. Scalera objected to during budget talks late last year. Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst’s salary was raised from $102,000 to $104,040.
Last week, Councilwoman Bridget Fleming asked that the resolution be tabled in order to give her more time to consider the implications of the decision. Her fellow board members seemed reluctant to do so but eventually the discussion was postponed until Tuesday, January 13.
At Tuesday’s meeting Ms. Fleming thanked the board for giving her time to consider the amendment, and said that after speaking with her family, she too had decided to do without this year’s wage increase.
However, unlike her Republican colleagues, who requested their money be returned to the general fund, Ms. Fleming, a Democrat, asked that $1,000 go toward Farm Fresh Farmers Market in Flanders, and that the remaining money go to the Water Quality Protection Cost Center.
Mr. Bender said last week he would be keeping his full salary because his position as councilman is his only job and source of income. He added that he had no objection to his co-workers’ request. Supervisor Throne-Holst also said she understood the implications of the decision, and that she would vote in favor of the amendment.
After Ms. Fleming offered her amendment, the resolution establishing salary schedules for the town board passed unanimously.
In other action, the town board adjourned a public hearing to discuss possible amendments to the Special Exception Uses permit, in order to create stricter standards for retail businesses between 5,000 and 15,000 square feet.
This amendment came to the forefront in the fall, seemingly in response to controversial plans for a 9,030-square-foot CVS on a busy intersection on Bridgehampton’s Main Street. It aims to create specific standards and safeguards for large stores, in an effort to tighten the zoning code.
At the first public hearing about the amendment in September, members of the Bridgehampton Citizen Advisory Committee, who have been fighting the CVS tooth and nail for months, spoke in favor of it.
At the same hearing, local attorneys representing CVS and BNB Ventures IV, the owner of the property, called the amendment “illegal” and unethical.
Ms. Scalera asked that the hearing be adjourned until the board’s first meeting next month, on Tuesday, February 10, to allow it more time to work on the law with the planning department, adding that the process has been more challenging than anticipated.