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Dougherty: Bus trips to substations being scheduled

COURTESY PHOTO | The Town Board met Friday with news about the proposed PSEG substation.

COURTESY PHOTO | The Town Board met Friday with news about the proposed PSEG substation.

Residents will soon be able to tour PSEG substations up close and operational.

Supervisor Jim Dougherty announced the initiative, first voiced by Councilwoman Chris Lewis a week ago, at the top of the Town Board’s meeting Friday.

“We’re in the process of arranging field trips on town buses to various substations in the area for any residents of our town who may want to see existing substations,” Mr. Dougherty said. “Further details on these bus trips will follow.”

At last Tuesday’s work session, several residents questioned the wisdom of the New Jersey-based power company’s proposal to install an electrical substation on town-owned property on South Ferry Road next to the Shelter Island Historical Society’s Havens House.

In addition, Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar said Friday the town had received correspondence from Ann Cronin, Peggy and Walter Johnson, Charles and Ann Beckwith, Jeffery Brewer and Richard and Kathleen Krause, all voicing concerns about the possible construction of a substation.

“We listened to the concerns expressed Tuesday,” Mr. Dougherty said, adding, “we’re beginning the investigative process.”

PSEG representatives will be present at the July 1 work session, Mr. Dougherty said, “to discuss in full detail and listen to the community on health and safety issues. It will also be discussed at subsequent work sessions.”

Mr. Dougherty also mentioned that 13 portable generators are in working order at the Old Highway Barn site — the same location PSEG wants to build the substation — to ensure power if there are shortages due to overuse or storms.

Councilman Ed Brown suggested the board go to the site when the portable generators are being tested to gauge noise levels and, if excessive, a new location might be found.

Mr. Dougherty said this was a good idea, but noted that, “If there’s, God forbid, a terrible hurricane this fall the noise might be a minor price to pay.”

In other business, Mr. Dougherty reported that there was $766,000 in the town’s general checking account and $590,000 in the Community Preservation Fund account.

Also known as the “2-percent fund,” the CPF is financed by a 2-percent tax buyers pay on real estate deals, with the first $250,000 of the sale price exempted from the tax. That tax collected then goes into the town’s CPF fund and is solely dedicated to open space acquisitions and maintaining them.

Mr. Dougherty said he had just received a $250,000 check for May’s CPF fund and that more good news was on the way because “my sources tell me there are some whoppers in the pipeline.”