AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | The Town Board met Tuesday in work session. From left, Town Attorney Laury Dowd, Councilwoman Chris Lewis, Councilman Paul Shepherd, Supervisor Jim Dougherty, and Councilmen Peter Reich and Ed Brown.
At Tuesday’s Town Board work session a resident wanted more information on a new inter-municipal organization the board is inclined to join.
“We don’t know very much about it,” Emory Breiner told the board. “And that’s the problem.”
One of his concerns was the possible loss of sovereignty if Shelter Island joins the other East End towns and villages, plus Brookhaven and county and state agencies, in an organization promoted by the Peconic Estuary Program. The PEP is a coordinating group of government, environmental advocates, academic institutions and businesses interested in surface water policies.
The idea is a committee will be formed and each municipality will have a representative. Dues are to be paid annually — with the participants having the option of terminating the agreement every year — that will go to hire a coordinator.
All towns will pay about $7,500 in annual dues, with the villages paying less and the county and state paying more.
The coordinator will track regulations and keep an eye out for grant opportunities. Since all parties share the Peconic estuary, by working together the individual entities will have more weight and influence, the PEP has said.
In briefly reviewing Tuesday a presentation given last week on the new group, the board seemed to agree it was worthwhile. “If we enlist, it’s only for one year,” Supervisor Jim Dougherty said, adding that the $7,500 tab isn’t restrictive.
“Nothing jumped out at me as to, ‘why not?” Councilman Paul Shepherd said.
But each participant in the new group having a vote concerned Mr. Breiner. “I don’t like the idea that other towns will have a say in Shelter Island projects,” he said.
Councilman Peter Reich gave an example of towns working on plans for new septic systems. “If we push the county for different septic systems, it’s going to be all five towns working with the county on it,” he said. “It’s better than one town trying to do it.”
Supervisor Dougherty said other towns couldn’t interfere with what Shelter Island decided to do.
“Does a grant come to Shelter Island or through the consortium?” Mr. Breiner asked.
“There’s no loss of home rule whatsoever,” Mr. Dougherty reiterated.
In other matters, Supervisor Dougherty reported that July cash receipts for the town were up substantially over July 2012. The town took in $130,750 last month as opposed to $103,00 a year ago.
Building permits were off almost $13,000 however, but garbage bag sales and land fill receipts, among others, more than made up the difference.
The board agreed to set a public hearing August 9 on its Watershed Management Plan, a comprehensive look at the Island’s surface water resources. By putting a plan on the record, grants and other sources of funding for remediation and capital projects will be easier to secure.
Town Attorney Laury Dowd said the pan is available at the Town Clerk’s office and she would upload the material to the town’s website.
Commissioner of Public Works Jay Card Jr. told the board that about 900 feet on the western side of Peconic Avenue has suffered a 7 to 8 foot loss of beach over the years. The town has been advised to seek a Hazard Mitigation Grant to fix the problem and there’s the possibility the Army Corps of Engineers might join in, resulting in little or no cost to the town.
Mr. Card also reported that the town’s agreement with Winters Brothers Waste Systems of East Hampton to haul the town’s solid waste was up December 31. It’s a two-year deal with a two-year option.
“In order to have a smooth transition it’s important to get it out to bid to have plenty of time for the next contractor to have everything ready to go by January 1,” Mr. Card said.