Letters: Town's response to Hurricane Sandy

CARA LORIZ FILE PHOTO | The view from Bridge Street during Hurricane Sandy last Monday.

Amazing crew

To the Editor:

I can’t emphasize enough how amazing the Shelter Island Highway Department was during the storm! They literally were putting themselves in harm’s way to keep the roads clear for emergency vehicles so the residents of Shelter Island, including my parents, could be safe.

Also many thanks to the police and fire departments for their tireless efforts throughout the storm. We are all so lucky to be members of such a great community.

CHRIS KNIGHT

Shelter Island

Truly incredible

To the Editor:

All the residents of the Ram Islands would like to thank the entire Highway Department and Highway Supervisor Jay Card for all their help and hard work following Sandy. On Tuesday morning, the causeways were overrun and impassable due to sand and debris. At first light, earth movers were on the scene moving tons. By 9:30 a.m., the roads were clear and clean. It was truly incredible.

MARC WEIN

President, Ram Island Association

Island spirit

To the Editor;

I would personally like to take time out from all the talk about the cost of running the town to thank the people, volunteers and employees who demonstrated such spirit and professionalism during and after the recent storm. They not only did their jobs but did them well. Nothing helps remind us of why we need them quite like a crisis.

So while the budget process is painful, it is helpful to remember that much of the money goes to pay back the people who make our lives easier, maybe even possible sometimes. They’re not numbers, they are our neighbors, and without their services things would be beyond difficult and we’d be the poorer for it.

But then there’s the cost. Our taxes are relatively low. That is a good thing but not an easy thing to maintain, especially when the cost of everything continues to go upward even while our county, state and federal governments seem always to find new mandates but no new funding for them.

For me, the beauty of Shelter Island has always been the diversity of people who live here. The wealthy and the not so wealthy have lived symbiotically here for many generations. The trick will be to keep that true in the future, to avoid driving the less well-to-do from here with taxation.

So we have to manage to pay our people what they need without driving ourselves into the poorhouse. The challenging nature of it was made clear to me during this, my first budget season as a councilman. To say it won’t be easy would be to vastly understate the situation.

The necessary path is clear: To increase productivity through better management, to manage our expectations sensibly. If there is magic to it, it will be found in the spirit in which we all do what we have to do. We are better off than most, here, in many ways. It would be a shame to forget that in all the calculations we find ourselves doing.

And again, I thank all who helped make Sandy a lot less painful than it might have been for us. We’ve much to be grateful for.

PAUL SHEPHERD

Town Councilman

Shelter Island

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