Tag Archive | "southold"

Thiele Praises Shared Superintendent Announcement in Greenport, Southold

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In 2011, the New York State Legislature enacted Chapter 97, which is most well known for establishing the 2 percent real property tax cap. However, the legislation also included a number of provisions for mandate relief for school districts, including a provision promoted by State Assemblyman Fred Thiele.

Specifically, Thiele’s proposal permits up to three school districts with enrollments of 1,000 students or less to enter into a contract to share a school superintendent. It could not impair any existing school superintendent employment contract in effect before July 1, 2013.

There are 19 school districts in Suffolk County with 1,000 or fewer students, mostly on the East End. Before the enactment of Chapter 97, each district was required to have its own school superintendent.

Southold and Greenport school districts, with enrollments of 850 and 650 respectively, are the first school districts on Long Island to take advantage of the new law. They will share a school superintendent beginning July 2014.

“I was proud to shepherd the Shared Superintendent Program through the state legislature in 2011,” said Thiele. “I am equally proud that the first school districts have taken advantage of the program. Southold and Greenport are to be commended for taking advantage of this opportunity to share administrative services and reduce taxes. Other East End school districts should take a hard look at this groundbreaking initiative.”

 

Southampton Town Council: It’s Bender & Glinka, Unofficially

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Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

Southampton Town Council candidates Brad Bender, Frank Zappone, Stan Glinka and Jeff Mansfield

By Kathryn G. Menu

While the results have yet to be made official by the Suffolk County Board of Elections (BOE), according to Southampton Town Democratic Party chairman Gordon Herr, it appears that Independence Party member Brad Bender and Republican Stan Glinka have held on to their Election Day leads and will join the Southampton Town Board in January.

On Wednesday morning, an official with Suffolk County BOE chairman Anita Katz’s office declined comment on the race stating official results would not be available until later this week.

However, Herr said the counting of 879 absentee ballots was completed last Wednesday and that Bender and Glinka have secured seats on the town board.

Bender and Glinka bested Bridgehampton resident Jeff Mansfield and Southampton Town Deputy Supervisor Frank Zappone in the town board race.

“I am so very thankful to my friends, family, co-workers, colleagues, everyone who was so generous and encouraging during the campaign,” said Glinka, the town board race’s top vote getter, in a statement on Wednesday. “But more importantly I am thankful to the voters of this great town, my hometown of Southampton, for endorsing me with their vote. I look forward to continuing to listen to all the people and to working on finding balanced solutions to many crucial issues at hand.”

“As I committed to be your full time representative, I am currently winding down my workload and finishing off projects that are in progress,” said Bender, who is in the construction field. “I am excited about this next chapter in my life as a public servant. Working for you the taxpayers to solve problems and protect our community.”

“Grading” Sag Harbor Teachers: Administrators Discuss Goals Updates at Board of Education Meeting

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External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

External Auditor Alexandria Battaglia, CPA, addresses the Sag Harbor Board of Education Monday night.

By Tessa Raebeck

“This has been a week of very special teams,” said Dr. Bonuso, interim superintendent for the Sag Harbor School District, congratulating the champion Lady Whalers field hockey team and the community team that helped pass the district’s two bond propositions.

Passing the bond was a key component of the district goals for the 2013/2014 school year, which Dr. Bonuso presented to a small group of people gathered Monday for the Board of Education (BOE) meeting.

Dr. Bonuso discussed the headway made on the first three of the district’s nine goals. He said progress was made on the first goal, improving academic achievement, through the resubmission and implementation of Annual Professional Performance Reviews (APPR), an evaluation system required by the state since 2012. It rates teachers as highly effective, effective, developing or ineffective, based on a 100-point scale. Half of the review relies on administrative observations, 10 percent on an “evidence binder” of components like electronic posting and 40 percent on test scores. For teachers whose students are not yet being tested regularly, that portion is determined by a project the district assigns in order to produce a score. Pierson Middle/High School Principal Jeff Nichols said the majority of Sag Harbor teachers were graded “effective.”

“We need to take a second look at this emphasis on testing, the over testing,” said Dr. Bonuso. “We need to take a second look at whether or not we have the materials and modules – let alone the mindset – to approach this in a manner where people are feeling good about what’s happening instead of anxious and discouraged.”

Susan Hewett, a parent, asked the board how teachers are rewarded or reprimanded based on their APPR performance. Dr. Bonuso replied teachers are not rewarded, but if they are determined to be “developing” or worse for two years, “we can literally remove them…even if they are tenured.”

If a teacher is rated “ineffective,” the superintendent said, “We don’t have to go through all the gyrations and all the bureaucracy that in the past we had to in order to remove you.”

The administrators reported on the progress of the newly formed shared decision-making teams, a component of the second goal: to build partnerships with the community. Two teams have met, one for the elementary school and one for Pierson. The district-wide team is looking for two replacements for members who left the committee prior to the first meeting.

Board member Mary Anne Miller questioned the inclusion of the middle and high schools in the same team, which BOE Vice President Chris Tice agreed should be revisited.

The third goal is to ensure sound fiscal operation and facilities management. The district added experienced security personnel and hours at both school, enhanced systems at school entryways and held its first lockdown drill of the year last week. External auditor Alexandria Battaglia said Monday the district is in good financial health, with an unassigned fund balance of about $1.4 million.

In other school news, BOE member David Diskin again asked the board to discuss starting to video record their meetings. Board President Theresa Samot said it was a good idea to look at further.

The next BOE meeting will be held December 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pierson Library.

With Something for Every Budget, In Home Helps Sag Harbor Shoppers Tackle Holiday Shopping

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David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

David Brogna and John Scocco show their wares at In Home

By Tessa Raebeck; photography by Michael Heller

As Sag Harbor residents begin checking items off their holiday shopping lists, In Home is hosting a storewide clearance sale to ease the process, offering great deals on everything from sofas to stocking stuffers. With up to 70 percent off selected items, the sale includes regular clearance items, as well as closeouts from brand name manufacturers like Calvin Klein, Dansk and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams.

Since 1996, In Home co-owners John Scocco and David Brogna have filled their Main Street shop with a carefully curated collection of furnishings for every room, occasion and budget. Brogna, an award winning Home Products Development Professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), has an eye for design and a background as a buyer for companies like Macy’s. Scocco complements Brogna’s expertise with his own background in interior design and as an industrial film production manager. Together, they have built a longstanding store dedicated to both local and seasonal markets.

“We do have higher priced items,” said Scocco of In Home’s selection. “But most people don’t want to spend a lot of money these days, so we try to gear things for those shoppers.”

Brogna and Scocco have stocked their shelves with fun gift items under $25 or $50, “things that people would just come in and just want to pick up,” said Scocco.

One such item is the Corkcicle, a popular gift In Home was asked to restock after selling out last summer. For $23, the corkcicle is a long tube that resembles an icicle with a cork on top of it. After being chilled in a freezer, the corkcicle is inserted into a bottle of white or rosé wine. Unlike ice, the corkcicle won’t melt or water down your wine; instead, the bottle is both chilled and aerated upon pouring.

Another fun gift that was a hit this summer is the citrus sprayer, on sale at In Home for $15. After cutting the tip off of a lemon or lime, the citrus sprayer, which resembles the top of a spray perfume bottle, is placed on top of the fruit, allowing its owner to spray a mist of the juice directly from the lemon or lime.

“It’s really amazing,” says Scocco. “It really, really works.”

For under $20, In Home has a variety of other gift items from companies like Kate Spade and RSVP, including soap sets, candle sets, picture frames, personal care items and other home accessories. $10 can get you a chrome rabbit that doubles as a ring holder or a snow globe that’s also a ring game for children, as well as a variety of other “little fun stuff.”

“Of course, we do have a lot of other high end, more special items as well,”
said Scocco. “But our focus primarily is on the less expensive items.”

Brogna and Scocco are committed to keeping the shop stocked with reasonably priced gift items for the holidays, but they also hope to clear out the larger home furnishings in order to make room for next season’s stock.

“There’s a wide assortment of things,” said Scocco. “Some people feel intimidated, people that don’t really know us hear ‘Oh, that store’s really expensive…’ We do have a wide range and our pricing is really very, very fair and very well priced.”

The In Home team hopes to sell all the clearance furniture by January. Regularly priced at $1,980, a Stratton leather chair by Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, modern with a dark, lightly distressed wooden frame and creamy stone leather seat, is on sale for $899. A soft, 100% Egyptian cotton king-sized blanket from Sferra’s home collection regularly priced at $250 is half off at $125. Framed mythological star maps of the astrological night sky, 23” by 23”, are marked down from $190 to $99. Also on sale are sofas, coffee tables, end tables, throw pillows and virtually anything else you need to decorate your home.

“There’s so much you can get overwhelmed with all the product that we have in our space,” Scocco said with excitement.

In Home is located at 132 Main Street in Sag Harbor. For more information, call 725-7900 or visit inhomesagharbor.com.

All for the East End Adds Avicii to August 19 Dance Party Lineup

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Nile Rodgers announces Avicii will join the All for the East End dance party this August during a press conference last Thursday at the Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead. 

By Tessa Raebeck

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Swedish sensation Avicii will join legendary producer and musician Nile Rodgers in an event that Rodgers is calling the “greatest dance party the East End of Long Island has ever seen.”

Presented by Bridgehampton National Bank, the Nile Rodgers Dance Party is the inaugural event of All for the East End (AFTEE), an organization formed to raise funds for local not-for-profit organizations. The concert will be held on Monday, August 19 at Martha Clara Vineyards in Riverhead and will benefit a range of East End not-for-profits.

Rodgers has produced such chart-toppers as “Like a Virgin,” “We are Family” and Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky,” which is currently the number one song in 79 countries (and counting). Along with curating the event, Rodgers will also be performing with his band, CHIC (perhaps best known for their 1978 disco hit “Le Freak”).

“Dance music unites,” said Rodgers at a press conference announcing the lineup last Thursday, June 6, at Martha Clara Vineyard. “Dance music is happy and the Nile Rodgers Dance Party will bring all ages to the dance floor.”

One of the world’s premiere acts, Avicii is the name behind such hits as “Fade into Darkness” and “Silhouettes.” Rodgers asked Avicii — with whom he is currently working — to headline because he is “a really hot young superstar that represents the next generation. That represents the continuation of music on the next level,” he said.

Rodgers plans to announce “other stars” who will be joining the festivities over the next few weeks.

The dance party will benefit a number of local not-for-profit organizations. As testament to the event’s commitment to the East End, 25 percent of all tickets sold are reserved for locals at the heavily discounted price of $50. General admission tickets are $149.

“Everybody thinks of the East End as a wealthy community and an affluent place,” said Rodgers. “But not for everybody. So, I thought this is the perfect opportunity to put together an event that’s accessible by all.”

“To have folks grace the Town of Riverhead with the presence of doing something like this is just phenomenal,” added Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter.

AFTEE’s “primary purpose is to raise awareness of the role not-for-profit organizations play in making the East End of Long Island one of the most desirable places to live in the world and to establish a fund of new money that they will have access to through a grant process,” the organization said in a press release.

With over 1,075 registered not-for-profit organizations in the five East End towns — East Hampton, Riverhead, Shelter Island, Southampton and Southold — AFTEE plans to benefit a wide variety of local groups with proceeds from the show.

“What struck me is how difficult it is right now for not-for-profits to make it,” said Walter. “Many of them have failed. So, to have a group that has come together to create AFTEE is truly — you are truly doing God’s work here.”

“We are very excited about this inaugural concert,” said Myron Levine, AFTEE president and founder, in a press release issued at the event. “And we are very lucky to head out of the gate with such an amazing program produced by Nile Rodgers. We anticipate this will be the first annual AFTEE, Nile Rodgers Dance Party and the funds raised will help the not-for-profits here fulfill their missions.”

Organizers of AFTEE also note that Bridgehampton National Bank (BNB) was quick to commit as the presenting sponsor of the event.

“It’s important to us,” said Kevin O’Connor, the BNB’s president, director and CEO. “We can give back so much for everything that we’ve gotten from this community. I’m excited to be part of it.”

Rodgers has been a visitor to the East End since 1978, when he received his first large paycheck (after producing nine hit singles) and “bought a speedboat.” He now spends time in the area “every single year when I get a little break in my schedule.”

AFTEE plans to sell 5,000 tickets to the Nile Rodgers Dance Party, including the 1,000 that have been set aside for locals.

“All my friends are out here,” said Rodgers. “You know it’s going to turn into a party. We’re going to have a bunch of people up on that stage. We’ll have some of the hottest DJs, some of the hottest acts. It’s going to be crazy.”

Rodgers and Avicii have been working on several new songs that the DJ may unveil at the event.

“Back in the day, we used to write songs and we would perform them live. And based on the response of the public, we would decide what songs we wanted to put on the record,” Rodgers explained. “The fact that Avicii and I are doing things like that now in today’s world — for me, it’s so cool. It’s like, ‘We get to try this out?’ That’s like the coolest thing in the world.”

VIP, general admission, and East Ender tickets are available online at www.AFTEE.org.

East Hampton Airport Fees Hearing Brings Out Anti-Noise Advocates

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By Kathryn G. Menu

 

John Kirrane can’t vote in East Hampton Town, but he believes his quality of life and potentially the value of his Noyac home have been so damaged by the East Hampton Airport that he can no longer stay silent.

And he is not alone.

Kirrane was one of a half dozen speakers to take the podium at the East Hampton town board meeting during a public hearing last Thursday granting the board the ability to increase landing fees as a resolution rather than a local law.

After the hearing the town board adopted that local law and also unanimously altered the landing fees for 2013 at the airport.

According to the resolution, light single engine planes will see an increase from $7 to $10; light multi-engine propeller planes will see an increase from $15 to $10; single engine turbine planes will have to pay $84 as opposed to $74, multi-engine turbine planes will see an increase from $100 to $125; multi-engine turbine planes between 12,500 pounds and over 50,000 pounds will see increased fees from $250 to a maximum of $600 for the larger airplanes. Helicopter landing fees, depending on the model, will increase between $25 per landing to $500 per landing for the larger helicopters.

Projected landing fee revenues for 2013, based on this change, are estimated at $1,269,038.

Bur for Kirrane and the others who spoke at the public hearing, the primary concern was less about landing fees and more about ensuring noise from the airport is addressed. Specifically, they want to ensure the airport can financially support itself. They argued if the airport can support itself that would remove the need for the town to seek airport funding through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If the town board does not take more FAA funding, the speakers maintain, the town would have more control over its airport and could impose restrictions that could contend with airport noise.

Kirrane said outside of East Hampton, the airport is not only becoming viewed as a liability for that town, but for the whole East End.

“I have spent my career in financial planning,” Kirrane told the board. “I have seen business plans that stink and yours — I grew up in Brooklyn — it doesn’t smell good.”

Kirrane apologized throughout his dialogue for his manner.

“But I’m angry. I have had your trash thrown in my backyard for the last 10 months,” he said referring to aircraft noise pollution.

Kirrane said many believe a desire for airport expansion by a mere few in East Hampton Town is leading the charge behind the scenes.

“The appearance to the west is there are special interests here that are creating a situation where the good of the people is succumbing to the good of the few,” said Kirrane.

“It’s extremely frustrating I don’t have the opportunity to vote on this issue, but you have imposed an incredible tax on me and my neighbors,” said Kirrane, who added he supports increases in landing fees.

For many residents of Noyac it is the events of last summer — when two voluntary helicopter flight paths, one over Northwest Woods in East Hampton and one over Jessup’s Neck in Sag Harbor, was eliminated to just the Sag Harbor route — that represented the breaking point.

On Thursday night, councilwoman Theresa Quigley said she, too, was frustrated that decision happened outside the realm of the full town board through a committee including airport manager Jim Brundige and town councilman Dominick Stanzione as well as the Eastern Regional Helicopter Council.

“It is a serious problem we have to grapple with,” said Quigley. “It was been handled inappropriately.”

Quigley added she believed it was the town board’s responsibility to deal with that very issue.

“There are things that once something is done it is hard to undo,” said Kirrane. “If you are to give up control of your airport to the FAA it would be a mistake of magnitude far beyond my ability to forecast.”

He added that as a 50-year resident of Southampton Town, it is not his ideal to see the airport closed.

“Local pilots who have small planes, God bless them, I have no issue, but when we have people using gigantic helicopters and private jets that appear to have no place out here you can’t create enough routes,” he said.

Kathy Cunningham, chair of the Quiet Skies Coalition (QSC) — an organization dedicated to aiding those impacted by noise created by East Hampton Airport — called on the board to create a business plan for the airport to ensure it was self sustaining.

“Without a proper business plan how is anyone supposed to understand the impact the revenue stream will have on the airport’s financial self sustainability,” she asked.

Cunningham said while for years the airport has sustained itself, she believes the creation of the seasonal air traffic control tower — proposed to be permanent and something she believes is an expansion of the airport — demands a full financial plan for the airport.

Without such a plan, Cunningham surmised, the town will be forced to take FAA funding, which QSC maintains will erode any chance the town has of truly controlling air traffic into the airport come 2014 when previous grant assurances under the FAA expire.

“We all know under the FAA restrictions that come with funding your board is inhibited if not prohibited from exercising proprietary rights” over the airport, agreed QSC vice chairman Charles Ehrens.

“I would like to propose the fees be vastly increased with a portion distributed to residents who have lost the peaceful enjoyment of their homes,” agreed Steven Levine, a Sagaponack resident. “People contributing to the loss of peace and quiet should incur the full cost of the use of the facilities they use to get here.”

Town board members, including Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc noted the fee schedule had been altered to match those out of other airports, including New York City.

Whalers Get Past Southold to Open Playoffs

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Pierson catcher Aaron Schiavoni tagging out Southold’s Anthony Fedele at home plate on Monday. The Whalers won, 2-1. Michael Heller photo

By Gavin Menu

The regular season is over, something the Southold baseball team made abundantly clear Monday at Mashashimuet Park.

The visiting Settlers nearly pulled off an upset for the ages but ultimately fell one run short, losing 2-1 to the top-seeded Pierson-Bridgehampton Whalers, who have lost just a single game all season.

Southold moved into the loser’s bracket of the double-elimination Suffolk County Class C bracket and will face Port Jefferson on Thursday, a team they beat to open the playoffs last week. The loser of that game will be eliminated and the winner will move on to face Pierson this Saturday back in Sag Harbor at 11 a.m. A win would earn the Whalers their second consecutive county title, while a loss would mean a second meeting, again in Sag Harbor, with a winner-take-all game on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

On Monday, it was a defensive gem turned in by Pierson that ultimately made the difference in the game. Trailing by one run in the bottom of the sixth inning, Whalers centerfielder Jack Fitzpatrick threw a perfect strike to shortstop Forrest Loesch, who turned and threw a laser to catcher Aaron Schiavoni at home plate. Schiavoni tagged out Southold’s Anthony Fedele to prevent what would have been the tying run.

“Jack got the ball in quick and threw a strike to Forrest,” head coach John Tortorella said of the play. “It was perfect.”

Of course the Whalers also had their senior ace on the mound in Colman Vila, who turned in yet another masterful performance, which has become routine for the lefthander. Vila struck out 16 batters and allowed just three hits to improve to 8-0 this season.

Rob Mahony also pitched a complete game for Southold, allowing seven hits with the team playing tremendous defense behind him. The Whalers scored in the second inning on an RBI single by Nick Kruel that brought Tim Markowski home from second base. They tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning with an infield single by Loesch that scored Fitzpatrick.

For a team so used to run production—Pierson routinely put up 10 runs or more per game this season—it was small ball that prevailed for the Whalers on Monday.

“They’re a good team and they came to play today,” Tortorella said about Southold, which had lost four times to Pierson during the regular season by an average of almost ten runs per game. “We hit the ball well but they made a lot of great plays in the outfield. You get better from games like this.”

Southold scored its first run in the sixth inning on a shot to centerfield by Alex Poliwoda that scored Shayne Johnson from second base. Fedele was waved home by head coach Mike Carver but was nailed at the plate on the perfect throw from Loesch.

The game turned chippy in the bottom half of the sixth when designated hitter Johnny Chisholm crashed into Mahoney on a routine pop-fly on the first-base line. Mahoney went hard to the ground and Chisholm was ejected from the game.

Vila closed the door with three strikeouts in the seventh inning, but a long postgame talk in centerfield clearly carried a mixed message from Tortorella and assistant coach Benito Vila.

“I wasn’t happy with how we operated there, and it’s got nothing to do with baseball,” Tortorella said. “I feel like we let our emotions get the best of us. We didn’t act like we should be acting, like Pierson baseball players should be acting.”

The Whalers will have a chance on Saturday to get back to doing what Pierson baseball has become accustomed to, which is winning championships.

 

 

 

 

Suffolk County Expands Sunday Bus Service

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On Tuesday, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously approved legislation providing a minimum of $1.1 million and as much as $2.1 million to expand the county’s Sunday bus service — a move Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman said would provide environmental and economic benefits moving into the summer season.

“We are building upon the successful pilot program for Sunday bus service we launched two years ago on the East End,” said Schneiderman. “Sunday is a busy day for retail and service-oriented businesses. Employees need to get to work and employers need a workforce they can depend on.”

“This resolution is a step forward to expand bus service while cutting our deficit,” County Executive Steve Bellone said. “Expanding bus service helps take cars off the road and provides opportunity and access for thousands of Suffolk County residents. I commend Legislator Schneiderman for his continued leadership to make Sunday bus service a reality in Suffolk County and working alongside me to expand service and provide deficit relief. I also want to thank our state delegation for their hard work to get Suffolk County’s transit aid increased by approximately $2 million.”

“Many businesses on the East End, including in my North Fork legislative district, rely on public transportation to get workers to their jobs, especially during the summer season, and I strongly support Legislator Schneiderman’s initiative to expand Sunday service,” said Legislator Al Krupski. “It’s an important economic boost for my district and will also help workers get to the jobs they need to be self-sufficient. And it’s a win for all Suffolk County taxpayers by helping cut our general fund deficit.”

“Today’s vote is an important first step towards creating the seven-day-a-week bus service that Suffolk County deserves,” said Ryan Lynch, associate director of the Tri-State Transportation Campaign. “This investment in Sunday and evening bus service is a down payment that will help riders and local businesses immediately, while also laying the groundwork for additional service expansions in the future.”

A successful pilot program for Sunday and holiday bus service was in effect for two summer seasons, Memorial Day to Columbus Day, on two eastern Suffolk routes — the S92 and 10C lines — subsidized in part by a 25 cent higher main fare on those riders. New York State recently increased its State Transit Operating Assistance (“STOA”) for Suffolk Transit by approximately $2,100,000 above the level anticipated in the Suffolk County 2013 budget, giving the county the opportunity to establish Sunday bus service year-round on limited routes.

“Recognizing the depth of the county’s fiscal problems, I agreed to allow half of this additional state funding to be used to close our county general fund deficit,” said Schneiderman. “I am hopeful that a federal grant for $1,000,000 will make up the difference and we should learn about our grant success in June.”

Schneiderman’s legislation would use $1.1 million of the increased funding provided by New York State to expand bus services in Suffolk County in the evenings and on Sundays. It would also direct the county Department of Public Works to apply for federal matching grant funding through the Job Access Reverse Commute (“JARC”) program, with the goal of achieving a total of $2 million in new funding for expanded Sunday and evening bus service.

Under the legislation, the Department of Public Works would develop a plan, within 30 days of the resolution, to expand the county’s bus service in the evening hours and on Sundays to the fullest extent possible within the limits of the additional state funding. The plan for expanded bus service would be continued as a pilot program for one year. DPW would report on the success of the pilot program to the County Legislature’s Public Works Committee no later than 270 days after the pilot program begins and make recommendations as to the feasibility of continuing the program beyond the one-year pilot period.

Sag Harbor Village Trustees Unanimously Adopt $8.78 Million Budget That Lays Off an Officer

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By Kathryn G. Menu

Early last Thursday morning, the Sag Harbor Village Board of Trustees adopted an $8.78 million budget for 2013-2014 which includes a $519,000 budget for the village’s sewer fund. But among the items reduced for 2013-2014 is the village police department’s budget —  which will now be forced to cut one officer, leaving the department with 10 officers and its chief.

The decision, after months of debate, will result in officer David Driscoll losing his job with the department as its newest hire. Driscoll, an officer who transferred to the department from the Southampton Town Police Department, was honored as the village’s officer of the year this past January for his work in 2012, including for his service as a member of the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office East End DWI Task Force.

The general fund budget of $8,263,381 is a 2.57 percent increase over the 2012-2013 adopted budget and falls below the allowable 4.1 percent spending increase under New York State’s mandated two percent property tax levy cap.

The tax rate under the budget, per $1,000 of assessed value, is set at 2.830, a 3.89 percent increase over last year. Village treasurer Eileen Touhy estimates a house valued at $795,000 in Sag Harbor Village would pay $2,249.85 in village taxes, a 0.0389 increase or $84.27.

Throughout the budget process, the village board discussed scaling back the number of officers in the Sag Harbor Village Police Department to 10 officers. The department currently operates with 11 officers and the chief after the departure of officer Michael Gigante last year amid an ongoing contract negotiation between the village and the Sag Harbor Police Benevolent Association (PBA).

Officers in the department have been working without a contract for close to two years now. That contract negotiation is currently in arbitration.

While the vote Thursday morning was quickly held — and was unanimous among the board’s four members, Mayor Brian Gilbride, Deputy Mayor Ed Gregory, trustee Kevin Duchemin and trustee Robby Stein — what followed was a prolonged debate between members of the department, its chief and the village board about the impact this decision would have on public safety in Sag Harbor.

Police Chief Thomas Fabiano questioned the decision and asked if the board intended to increase his overtime budget, estimating it could cost as much as $300,000 in overtime to replace losing an officer.

“To me this is, again, an incomplete budget,” said Fabiano, adding he feels officer Driscoll has been used as a carrot in ongoing negotiations with the PBA.

Gilbride dismissed that claim and questioned how the schedule would necessitate an additional $300,000 in overtime.

“This is not about an officer or anything else, but it is about the fact we don’t have an unlimited budget,” said Stein. He added he has received calls from people asking the future of the department be put to a public vote, something he is reluctant to do because he is unsure whether the outcome would result in Sag Harbor maintaining its own police department.

Fabiano noted the village board had not even reached the tax levy cap limits yet and questioned why Stein — or other board members — had not talked to him about the impact this will have on his department.

Stein responded he had spoken about this cut at previous meetings, but did not want to have private meetings about a public issue.

Gilbride said ultimately the decision came down to whether or not the village could afford these kinds of costs. The police department budget for 2013-2014, before any figures are calculated when arbitration ends and officers are compensated retroactively for any increases in salaries or benefits for the last two years, is for $1,659,765.

Fabiano said this is a safety issue and called on the board to develop a long range plan for the police department.

“Summer’s coming up and now I have another guy leaving,” he said, adding part time officers are reluctant to come to Sag Harbor given the level of discourse regarding the police department.

“I am confident with 10 people this village can run a police department,” said Gilbride, who added he went to arbitration last week with a specific goal of trying to keep the 11th position with the support of the full village board. He alleged the PBA asked for a three percent increase in salary and eight-hour fixed shifts, but did not make an effort to save officer Driscoll’s position.

“Why would we put ourselves in a position to not negotiate on behalf of the total membership,” asked PBA president Patrick Milazzo.

He added that the village has offered zero percent salary increases in negotiations and denied claims the PBA did not try to save the 11th position.

“I don’t believe you,” said Gilbride. “And this is not the first time you have not done something to save that 11th position.

“What I am trying to do is negotiate for my entire membership,” countered Milazzo. “What I am not going to do is put myself in a position where I am going to negotiate for a portion of my personnel. That is absurd.”

He added he believes the village is trying to paint this picture to put the blame of this loss on the PBA instead of the village board.

“The village is getting to the point where we can’t afford it,” said Gilbride.

“Then don’t,” said Milazzo. “Do it or don’t, but don’t half ass it.”

“Are you saying we should put something up to abolish the police department,” asked Gilbride.

“If you are not going to do it the right way, don’t do it,” said Milazzo, noting that has been his position consistently when discussing the future of the Sag Harbor Village Police Department.

“By diminishing our department by officer Driscoll’s position you are putting us all in jeopardy,” said Sergeant Paul Fabiano.

He added he believes the police budget and the ongoing contract negotiations should not be linked.

“We are supposed to train, we are supposed to prepare but when you have a one person shift, you don’t have adequate personnel, equipment to do the job, you are set up to fail and that is what is happening in my opinion,” said Sergeant Fabiano.

He added the chief was able to find some $70,000 or more in the budget to try and save the position and the village board should have worked to find the rest of the estimated $180,000 needed to keep the 11th position for the upcoming fiscal year.

The fear is not just for the community, said Sergeant Fabiano, but also for officers on duty, some of whom he feared may have to be on duty on their own to accommodate this loss of an officer.

Gilbride said he believed most shifts would remain two-man shifts.

“Can this department run with 10 people, yes. Does it run efficiently, no. Is there a safety issue, absolutely,” said Sergeant Fabiano, adding Detective Jeff Proctor — the department’s only detective — must work patrol duty, taking away from his investigative work.

 

Lady Whalers’ Fast Start Slowed by Southold

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By Gavin Menu; Photography by Michael Heller

One is an unassuming but emerging athlete at Pierson High School while the other is an elite field hockey star gifted with superior athleticism. Together, juniors May Evjen and Kasey Gilbride are wreaking havoc on girls basketball courts this season, leading the Lady Whalers in a strong start to the League VIII season.

“Kasey and May and Emily [Hinz] play tremendous defense,” Lady Whalers head coach Kevin Barron said this week. “Kasey gets point guards so nervous because she’s so quick can stay with everybody. And May scores almost all her points off steals. She has been great.”

After cruising to a 42-18 home win over Shelter Island on January 4 in which Evjen led the team on both ends of the floor, finishing with 12 points and eight steals, the Lady Whalers traveled on Tuesday to play at Southold-Greenport, the defending league champion. Gilbride got her first start of the season and she, Evjen and Hinz helped the Lady Whalers jump out to an early 15-point lead in the first quarter.

But with their entire lineup returning from last year, Southold methodically clawed back into the game and trimmed the lead to eight at halftime before tying the game at the end of the third quarter.

In the end, the Lady Settlers (3-3, 3-1 League VII) pulled away with a 47-41 win that dropped Pierson’s league record to 3-2 and overall mark to 5-6.

“They will definitely be the toughest team we play this year,” Barron said Tuesday night after a long bus ride home from the North Fork. “We were preparing for this game for a week-and-a-half and the girls were ready and pumped and that’s why we came out strong.”

Barron said the team’s trademark pressure defense was a big part of the early success against Southold, but said the aggressive play also led to foul trouble as a result, with Hinz, Bridget Canavan and Sydnee McKie-Senior all having to sit out during crucial stretches of the game.

“Southold was in the bonus almost the entire second half because we were being so aggressive on defense, which is partially my fault as the coach,” Barron said. “They hit 23 foul shots, so half of their points.”

More big games await this week starting at home on Tuesday, January 15 against Stony Brook and against Port Jefferson on January 25, also at home.

“We’ve been having trouble coming out fast, and today we came out very fast,” Barron said on Tuesday. “We told the girls that if we can do that against Port Jeff and Southold again later in the season, we can beat anyone. We just have to play the full 32 minutes.”