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Money, money, money: Town Board eyes incoming funds

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

REPORTER FILE PHOTO

The town expects to ink a deal with SBA Communications for that Florida-based cell tower company to purchase the cell tower at the Recycling Center for $2.2 million.

The decision was made public at Tuesday’s Town Board work session. If the town kept the tower and took annual receipts from companies renting space on the tower, it would be taking a risk, the board decided.

On the upside, if all those with antennas on the tower maintained their contracts through 2033, the town could get $3.2 million. But those payments would be stretched out over the 15 year period. In addition, technology changes could make the tower useless and the cell companies might opt to put their antennas elsewhere.

More money will come into town coffers from changes in Building Department fees expected to be adopted Friday and take effect Monday, May 14. The fee hike won’t bring parity with fees paid in neighboring communities, but it’s time for a raise, according to Building Inspector Reed Karen.

He told the Town Board in March there hadn’t been a change in fees in 10 years.

The aim in making revisions was to update the old structure while making it clearer for applicants to understand their fees that are based on the complexity of projects. In most cases, that means that those whose projects are very large are also likely to involve greater complexities that take more time for inspectors to provide appropriate oversight.

The proposal aims to keep fees lower for starter homes and other smaller projects.

The full proposal is available from the Building Department and the Town Clerk’s office.

The third source of money for the town is a $100,000 check Councilman Jim Colligan said he hopes will be in hand very soon. It covers grant money from New York State for work done on the Medical Center roof and some other reimbursable work.

More money is on the way with Riverhead agreeing to purchase two old trucks from the town for $45,000.

If it’s not money coming into the town, it’s money that can be saved as some anticipated costs are less than what was expected.

A $325,000 grant to the Taylor’s Island Preservation and Management Committee will provide bulkheading at Taylor’s Island with the bid from Costello Marine coming in at $139,000. The balance of the fund will be used to repair the cement seawall and if money is still left, cement stairways at the front and north side of the Smith-Taylor Cabin will be repaired. The grant is being administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation.

In other business, the Town Board:
• Expects to delay a decision on Zach Vella’s property in the Heights where he and architect Barbara Corwin had hoped to begin work this spring.

With one absent Town Board member, the others wanted time and put off a decision until later in May. But it’s expected that Mr. Vella won’t get permission to start work until after Labor Day.

The problem is that the house is at 12 Clinton Avenue that runs along the access line to North Ferry. Even though Mr. Vella has promised all work would be confined to his property and all construction vehicles would be within property boundaries, Heights Property Owners Corporation General Manager Stella Lagudis had requested the delay, concerned that trucks bringing materials to the site could disrupt ferry traffic.

Mr. Colligan pointed out that the Town Board has allowed Mr. Vella to proceed with work on his other project on Shore Road where Herrmann’s Castle once stood, but no work has been done there except for demolition of the original structure. If the Clinton Avenue project were located in a more remote area, the board would have no problem with summer construction.

But given the volume of traffic approaching the ferry in summer months and Ms. Lagudis’ request for a delay until after Labor day, it’s doubtful the Town Board would reverse its stand.

The property on Clinton is still usable, Mr. Colligan said. It’s just that the plan to link two structures with a corridor on the property wouldn’t be done this summer. He said it’s a relatively simple project that should be able to be completed next fall.

• Learned that the prolonged rainy weather has delayed road work that needs to get underway. The aim is to continue to tackle the 12 to 15 roadways considered to be in fair to poor condition and then to get back funding for some of that work so that next fall, it can continue to do additional road work, according to Mr. Colligan.

• Agreed to look into a request from Bob Fredericks, president of the Hay Beach Association, to determine the ownership of a dirt road running off Ram Island Drive. Owners of property in Hay Beach have clauses in their deeds giving them beach access through that road and Mr. Fredericks thought the Hay Beach Association owned the road. He wants the ownership determined and, if possible, to have some repairs done even if it can’t be paved.

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