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2016 town taxes to go up 3.8 percent

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Town Board met November 13 to discuss the 2016 budget.
REPORTER FILE PHOTO | The Town Board met November 13 to discuss the 2016 budget.

Town taxpayers will see a 3.8 percent rise to support spending in 2016.

The budget for next year is $10.3 million with revenues anticipated to be about $2 million. Another $250,000 is being allocated from the town’s fund balance to support the new budget.

Town Board members voted unanimously on November 13 to adopt the 2016 budget.

The tax increase is the lowest in the past two years. The current year’s budget required a tax increase of 6 percent and the 2014 budget hiked taxes by 5.2 percent.

In presenting the budget resolution, Supervisor Jim Dougherty said it’s “no big whoop of any kind,” meaning that there were no significant increases or decreases in budget items.

What increased the tax percentage hike to 3.8 from the previously predicted 3.5 percent were:
• A $20,000 allocation representing the town’s share of the project to build a public bathroom at Volunteer Park on Bridge Street.

• A $1,800 allocation to support the Peconic Estuary Protection Committee initiative. Other East End towns are paying $6,000, but because Shelter Island is so small, Mr. Dougherty appealed and was granted the right to pay at the village level, at least for this first year.

• An increase of $1,000 for the deputy supervisor.

In other business at the November 13 meeting, the Town Board:
• Approved the application from William Anderson for a wetlands permit allowing him to demolish an existing house on property at 7 Montclair Avenue. A new house out of the vegetative buffer can be built with provisions for meeting town requirements and other mitigating factors pertaining to the house with a cabana, sleeping quarters, swimming pool and patios.

• Approved plans to use approximately $13,570 in Federal Community Development Block Grant Funds expected in 2016 for upgrades to the Town Hall entryway and/or parking lot lighting.

• Approved an application from the Shelter Island Yacht Club to replace 128 feet of bulkheads with 128 feet of new bulkheading and to replace the walkway once the bulkhead work is completed.

• Approved changes to the scallop season on Shelter Island to start one week after the state scallop season opens and to end on March 31. Individual scallopers with a DEC diggers permit will be allowed to take up to five bushels per day while if more than one scalloper goes out on a boat, that boat, no matter how many permits people on the boat have, a total of 10 bushels of scallops may be taken onboard each day.

• Set December 30 at 1 p.m. for the Town Board to conduct any necessary transactions and January 5, at 1 p.m. for a Town Board organizational meeting.