After two previous attempts at soliciting bids for a new well, the Village of Dering Harbor trustees awarded the contract to Gregor Well Drilling at their meeting on Saturday, March 15. The new well will replace village well #2 and has been the subject of discussion with the Suffolk County Department of Health for the past several months.
Not installing a second well “is not an option,” Mayor Tim Hogue said on Saturday, referring to the county’s negative assessment of the existing well.
The bid, $68,695, was the only one received. In response to a question from Rob Ferris in the audience, Mr. Hogue said that Village Water Commissioner Hap Bowditch had been involved in the process from the beginning, and a detailed engineering study commissioned by the village had been included as part of the specs for the bid.
Mr. Hogue noted that the village had a current debt of $45,000, which he recommended refinancing by rolling it over into a new short-term bond that would include the well drilling, for an amount not to exceed $115,000. He hoped to negotiate an interest rate of one to two percent for a short-term bond, although Karen Kelsey suggested from the audience that a longer term bond, while more costly — three to four percent — might look very good in the future if interest rates go up. “A very good idea,” the mayor said. The trustees approved a resolution to float a new bond in the above amount to cover the drilling cost of the new well.
The county is also requiring that the village purchase a generator to back up the village water system, Mr. Hogue said, in spite of the fact that the village has a 100,000-gallon water tank and has never run out of water. Although the village has an agreement with the Shelter Island Fire Department to borrow its generator as backup, the county health department is apparently not satisfied with this alternative. The mayor said that the cost of a new generator may qualify for federal assistance as part of overall mitigation efforts.
Hurricane sandy aftermath
Mr. Hogue said he had met with FEMA representatives since the February meeting and identified three areas related to damage from Hurricane Sandy — the cost of debris removal, damage to the bulkhead between the Julia Dodd culvert and the Hunt property, and flooding, particularly on Yoko Road. A dry well installed at the top of Yoko Road may alleviate the problem of flooding. If FEMA money is not available, CHIPS money may be available to help defray the cost.
Resident Kirk Ressler commented that the flooding is caused by water coming in from three directions — not just the top of the road but also from the sides. Mr. Hogue said that the water table was very high at that location and a French drain system, which had been installed earlier, was not deep enough to solve the problem. It is possible that digging a deeper drain, filled with recycled glass, might be effective in the affected areas, the mayor said, but a DEC permit would be required.
• Budget preparation: Mr. Hogue said the budget for 2013-4 was in progress and would be ready for a public hearing in April. Regardless of whether or not the budget meets the federally mandated two percent tax cap, Mr. Hogue said that the village, along with other municipalities, had been advised, by the New York Conference of Mayors among other groups, to pass an annual law that would permit the board to exceed the two percent cap if necessary. The board did this last year just to be on the safe side, and Mr. Hogue was recommending the same action be taken at the April meeting.
• Parking complaint: Mr. Ressler raised again the issue of the Bakers parking on Dering Lane and also on the driveway in front of the Baker garage that the survey maps show as village property. Parking on village property is prohibited, he said, and in this case it is constant, not just on special occasions. “I have asked the village numerous times to do something about it,” he said, in fact, since 2001.
Trustee Linda Adams commented that the checkerboard layout of several properties in the village created the same problem as the Bakers’ driveway and it would be important to know how many other residents would be affected by enforcement in this one particular case.
Mr. Hogue said that the Bakers had agreed to keep cars off the roadway and to consider creating a parking space on their property, parallel to the driveway. He said he would see where they were on their plans and if a new parking space wouldn’t work, to look at the enforcement issue and its implications for other village residents.
• The next meeting of the board will be held on April 20 at 10 a.m. in Village Hall.