Southold: On Dog Runs, Generators and Assessments
Southold Town workers discovered earlier this year that they weren’t able to apply for grant money they’d expected to use to build solar-powered shelters over the dog runs at the town animal shelter on Peconic Lane, but the town still has access to $180,000 in a trust for the shelter set up by the Southold Raynor Animal Shelter Foundation.
The money, a bequest from Elliot Raynor, a Southold animal lover who died in 2002, is being managed by Catherine Morrelly, whose husband, Ken, had been in charge of the trust until his death in 2009, and Ms. Morrelly has been asking the town for more than two years to come up with a project to spend the money on.
The $313,611 solar project approved by the town this past winter would have offset the animal shelter’s $20,000 per year electric bill, but the project was later rescinded after the town learned the grant they’d hoped to use to pay for a portion of the project had expired.
Southold Public Works Director Jeff Standish told the town board at a work session Aug. 12 that Ms. Morrelly has agreed to pay for a generator for the animal shelter and non-solar shade structures for the dogs, at a cost of $1,000 apiece, as well as new dog doors between the shelter and the outdoor runs.
“She wants to spend the money,” said Mr. Standish.
Reichert to Power Community Center
In another donation from the community, Southold and Greenport IGA owner Charlie Reichert has agreed to pay to install a generator at the town’s new Peconic Lane Community Center.
Mr. Reichert has also helped the town in the past to restore the gazebo at Silversmith’s Corner, across the street from the Southold IGA, and to build a handicapped-accessible playground at Tasker Park in Peconic.
“I want to thank Mr. Reichert. He’s been so generous to the community,” said Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell at Tuesday’s town board meeting.
Mr. Russell added that the Southold IGA is now running a promotion where customers will receive a free reusable shopping bag for every $20 they spend in the store, and will receive a free insulated reusable shopping bag for every $40 they spend in the store.
Mr. Reichert had initially expressed some reluctance to consider a potential ban on plastic shopping bags at a recent forum held by Southold Town
Peconic Landing Wants a Tax Break
Southold is currently in the unenviable position of having to defend its assessment of Peconic Landing, the sprawling retirement community on the North Road in Greenport, which has filed a lawsuit challenging the town’s assessment.
The town board agreed Tuesday to pay $30,000 for an assessment of the property to defend their case.
“It’s very unique. How do you value it?” said Mr. Russell, a former town assessor, in explaining why the cost of the assessment is so high. Mr. Russell said Peconic Landing is having its own appraisal done, while the town will need to offer a second appraisal to back up its case on the value of the property.
Town Assessor Kevin Webster said Peconic Landing currently pays about $332,000 in town taxes and more than $1 million each year in school taxes, a hefty chunk of money that could justify the town’s expenditure on the new appraisal.
“They’ve had their appraisal done already,” said Town Assessor Bob Scott. “They’re in a stronger position at this particular point.”
None of this current appraisal battle takes into account the expected increase in value of Peconic Landing after their planned $45 million expansion begins later this year.
A Crosswalk for Firemen?
Southold’s transportation commission has recommended that the town install a crosswalk across New Suffolk Road just south of Main Street so that Cutchogue firefighters responding to calls can safely park in the fire department parking lot on the east side of New Suffolk Road and walk (or run) across the street to the firehouse.
Board members seemed skeptical that drivers will slow down or stop to let firefighters cross the street.
“People are going faster and faster,” said Councilwoman Jill Doherty.
Whose Poop in New Suffolk?
Southold Town Board members also agreed Tuesday to enter into a contract with Cornell Cooperative Extension to do some baseline DNA testing of coliform bacteria in New Suffolk’s West Creek, which has been closed seasonally to shellfishing for several years. DNA testing is one method of determining whether the source of the bacteria is from humans or animals, but it can cost several hundred dollars to analyze each sample.
Town Trustee Jon Bredemeyer told the town board at Tuesday’s work session that, while the town “certainly can’t afford statistically valid testing” of the bacterial DNA in West Creek, these baseline samples could be used to convince the county health department or the DEC to do more testing.
“We don’t really know the source of the coliform,” he said. “We might make an inference, but it’s for others to do the work.”
Southold To County: Stop Holding Dredge Hostage
Southold recently sent its list of creeks the town would like to see dredged to Suffolk County, but board members are tired of paying the county dredge crew’s overtime expenses, as they’ve done for the past several years as an incentive to get the county to spend more time dredging creeks in Southold.
Town Supervisor Scott Russell said County Legislator Al Krupski, of Cutchogue, is pushing the county to stop “holding us up for overtime.”
“That’s his demand and it’s an appropriate demand,” said Mr. Russell, who added that, while Southold originally approached the county offering to pay the overtime, the county has come to expect the extra money.