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Town puts parcels on market, Supe cites financial bleeding

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Supervisor Jim Dougherty is speaking with interested parties about either buying or leasing two town properties.

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Supervisor Jim Dougherty is speaking with interested parties about either buying or leasing two town properties.

The town has put two properties it owns on the market.

One is a 1.23-acre parcel on Manwaring Road and the other is 4.1-acres on South Ferry Road. Supervisor Jim Dougherty said Tuesday the properties will be for sale or lease. He’s been in touch with interested parties and some kind of deal is “promising.”
The town’s hand has been forced, Mr. Dougherty said, by what he described a week ago as a “very grave” financial situation that is continuing “to deteriorate.”

The Manwaring Road property is on the south side of the street, between a nursery and a private residence. It was deeded to the town in August 20001 by the Peconic Land Trust, according to Town Assessor Al Hammond. The larger parcel on South Ferry Road is next to the Shelter Island Historical Society and was once the site of the old highway barn.

Recently there were reports of the possibility of the power company, PSEG, building an electric transfer station on the South Ferry Road parcel. But Mr. Dougherty told the Reporter this week that “they haven’t identified a site,” adding there were meetings scheduled with PSEG later this month.

“All options are on the table,” Mr. Dougherty said, including renting space to the power company next to the Historical Society. “It’s a big site. It could be spit between PSEG and another party. We’re keeping all balls in the air.”

Grants for a highway vehicle and an engineering bill for a public works project on the Second Causeway have failed to come through leaving the town on the hook for $150,000 if the issues remain unresolved.
Mr. Dougherty said this week that additional highway department equipment requests along with funding for control of deer population and tick eradication are by far the largest expenses the town have and will further drain the town’s coffers. The two property deals will help slow that trend.

One large lump sum expense would be if the Town Board acts on suggestions from the town’s Deer and Tick Committee to hire a full time employee to manage what Mr. Dougherty described as “the deer and tick menace.”

In addition, the town would like to have 60 4-poster units — which apply a tickicide to feeding deer — in operation at total cost of about $4,000 to $5,000 a per unit a season.

The supervisor also mentioned additional rough financial weather ahead with the state mandating even more severe property tax caps on what municipalities can collect. These tax caps are almost impossible to keep “by well managed towns,” Mr. Dougherty said.