Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman has been on the job for 100 days, and he took some time at Tuesday’s town board to thank the town’s workers and reflect on the work the town has been doing over the past few years.
Mr. Schneiderman touted the town finance department’s conservative budgeting, singling out budget director Len Marchese for his work, which won him a certificate of achievement for excellence in financial reporting from the General Finance Officers Association.
Mr. Schneiderman touted the finance department’s work shrinking the town’s bond indebtedness by $5 million per year. He added that the town’s revenues are meeting or exceeding expectations so far this year, and if current totals hold, the town will take in $1 million more in mortgage tax this year than anticipated, due to “conservative budgeting and the strength of the real estate market.”
He added that the town still has $300,000 in its snow removal budget, despite four snowstorms, including a blizzard.
He also praised CSEA labor leaders and town negotiators for amicably settling “longstanding inequities” in the town’s labor contracts.
While the town board was excited several weeks ago at the prospect of using $3 in Community Development Block Grant funding to raise Dune Road from Hampton Bays to the Quogue Village line, Mr. Schneiderman said the state Office of Storm Recovery is no longer considering the project.
“We were close with the state grant. That is apparently not going to happen, but I’m working with the with the county executive’s office and our state delegation to come up with the money we need,” he said. “We have $1 million committed at the town level, and I’m going to ask the town board for another half million today.”
“I think we have understood for a long time that Dune Road needs to be elevated. It chronically floods and becomes impassable,” he added. “I think we all understand how critical that project is.”
Mr. Schneiderman urged members of the public to have a look at the work underway at Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays, where an amphitheater is now under construction.
“If you haven’t been there, go visit,” he said. “It’s going to be a beautiful new park for Hampton Bays, thanks to a lot of hard work by Frank Zappone, my deputy supervisor.”
He also touted the county’s work on a maritime park alongside the Shinnecock Canal, and said he’s working with Suffolk County on a plan to turn over the joint town/county owned commercial fishing dock on Dune Road over to full county ownership so that needed repairs can be done.
Mr. Schneiderman focused heavily on water quality, farming and the high cost of living in Southampton, making a point that 80 percent of town workers live west of the Shinnecock Canal.
He touted new Councilman John Bouvier’s work setting up a shellfish nursery and marine education center on Shinnecock Bay, and pledged to work with the Shinnecock Nation on water quality issues. Two members of the Shinnecock Nation have also recently joined volunteer committees in town government — Sunshine Gumbs has become a member of the Conservation Board and Shavonne Smith is becoming a member of the town’s Sustainability Committee.
“We welcome their voices as we move forward,” said Mr. Schneiderman. “We have a terrific group of citizens who have committed their time and expertise to sit on our boards and committees. Their incredible devotion to issues that are important to all of us is deeply appreciated. We are shaping our future…all of us have a stake in this. I thank you all for your dedication as we work together for the people of Southampton.”