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Shelter Island Reporter Letters to the Editor


To the Editor:
Last week the town supervisor submitted his tentative 2016 budget, boldly announcing a 2.9 percent increase in taxes. It should be noted that this increase starts the town budgeting process 2.17 percent over the .73 percent mandated New York State inflation cap.

A preliminary examination of his budget further reveals clerical and arithmetic errors on the negative side in the amount of approximately $232,500. As corrected, the supervisor’s tentative budget actually presents an increase of 5.8 percent, not 2.9 percent. More curious is that with no clear rationale or documents in hand, he is offering our elected officials a 2 percent salary increase; also well in excess of any relevant consumer price index increase that I can reference.

I appreciate that there are union contracts that must be honored and most of us recognize that certain “fixed” costs bring extra challenges in trying to meet the state’s mandate.

However, loss of control over the budget process is not good, and will likely further impair town and taxpayer financial security.

While I believe that the town supervisor’s heart is in the right place, unfortunately his budgeting skills are not.
Shelter Island
Mr. Williams is the Republican candidate for supervisor, challenging incumbent Democrat Jim Dougherty

A breathtaking visit
To the Editor:
My name is Stephen Barney, Flushing resident and author of “The Barneys of Flushing Meadows, American History,” available at lulu.com.

I recently wrote to Patricia Shillingburg, author of many books concerning the Nicoll family, former owners of Sachems Neck (now Mashomack Preserve). Through genealogical research I found that my great-grandparents William Barney and Abigail Seaman were employees of the Nicoll family in 1850.

Ms. Shillingburg graciously invited me and my teenage grandsons to Shelter Island and arranged a private tour. On Friday, September 25, 2015 we were privileged to visit the Island.

We began by taking the North Ferry: very exciting for my grandsons. We had a delicious old-fashioned breakfast at the Shelter Island Heights Pharmacy, then headed to Sylvester Manor Educational Farm where we met Historic Preservation Coordinator Maura Doyle and Ms. Shillingburg. Together they guided us through Sylvester Manor. As African Americans, we felt fortunate to see the slave quarters in the attic of the Manor.

Thereafter we travelled to the Shelter Island Historical Society Havens House Museum, where we met Executive Director Nanette Breiner Lawrenson, and Nancy Robin Jaicks Ph.D. (history), working in the field of African American Studies, where we received a thorough tour of the museum. Then we were treated to a picnic lunch by Edward Shillingburg, and discussed history.

We then travelled to Mashomack Preserve, where we met Philanthropy Manager Rebecca Mundy for the Nature Conservancy. There, Rebecca guided us through the many rooms of the former country estate of Matthias Nicoll. My grandsons were astonished to hear the mansion referred to as a “cottage.” Then Patricia led us to the Nicoll family cemetery where I identified the graves of Charlotte Ann Nicoll and other family members, who employed my great-grandparents.

Patricia then led us to St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Marie Eiffel Market for refreshments, Shelter Island Heights to take pictures, down to the public beach, the Perlman Music Program and to her beautiful home to chat. Whew!

Then we returned to Sylvester Manor for a delightful sunset wine and cheese dessert. We returned to our Southold hotel and had dinner at the ALure Chowder House.

What a wonderful and educational day for my grandsons and me. Many thanks to Patricia Shillingburg and everyone involved for this extraordinary visit to Shelter Island.

Flushing, Queens

Vinebusters back at it
To the Editor:
Last week’s Vinebuster event was cancelled due to winds, rain and generally miserable conditions. We’re heading back out this Saturday to Sachems Woods to clean up the trails and make them accessible.

The details are: Saturday, October 10, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Meet at the trail entrance to the left of the Islander restaurant and bring tools.

We’ll be holding this event in partnership with the Shelter Island Trail Club.
Shelter Island

To the Editor:
I would like to thank Father Charles McCarron, Rhonda Burns and everybody at St. Mary’s Church for inviting my dogs to your blessing of the pets.

And I am grateful, too, to all who baked goods to raise money. You have all helped dogs in need who, too, thank you. I am looking forward to next year’s event.
Shelter Island