Town holds off on law to pierce 2-percent cap

PETER BOODY PHOTO | The Town Board (with Councilwoman Chris Lewis out of view at left) during its regular meeting Friday.

At Supervisor Jim Dougherty’s suggestion, and after a public hearing at which no members of the public spoke, Town Board members decided at their regular meeting on Friday not to adopt a law that would allow them to pierce the state’s 2-percent annual tax-hike cap.

They agreed that they still had time to implement it if it unexpectedly proved necessary when the board finalized the 2013 spending plan. But Supervisor Dougherty, who argued that the board should withdraw the proposal entirely because it had become unnecessary, predicted that taxpayers would be pleasantly surprised when a final budget is adopted at a special meeting the board set Friday for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, November 13, just before its regular work session.

Also on Friday, the board voted 5-0 to grant a wetlands permit to the Nature Conservancy allowing it to move a house across the beach at the Mashomack Preserve to be installed on the upland at its campus there. The house, now located near South Ferry, is being given to the Nature Conservancy and will be barged across Smith Cove to the preserve.

A polite conversation among board members and Angelo Piccozzi about plans for a major bulkhead replacement project at the Piccozzi fuel company’s waterfront off Bridge Street almost veered toward contention at the Friday meeting. During a hearing on the bulkheading plans, Councilman Peter Reich unveiled a town document from the 1980s that indicated the company had agreed never to extend its bulkhead any further into the water. The current plans call for installing new bulkheading over the existing structure.

Mr. Piccozzi argued that the board should think again before requiring him stick to an agreement that he claimed his father Jake had signed only under duress. He said Jake had made the promise only because of a vendetta against him by Town Supervisor Mal Nevel that had held up his bulkheading plans for years until a major storm had almost ruined the business’s infrastructure.

The board was expected to resume its review of the case at its Tuesday work session, probably dividing the project so that it can approve the sections of new bulkheading that will not be in a confined area near the Town Dock at Bridge Street.

More details on these and other topics from Friday’s session will be in the November 15 edition of the Reporter