Savings in employee benefits and rising property values combined for a reduction in next year’s tax rate, Mayor Tim Hogue told those attending the April 16 Dering Harbor Village Board meeting, adding that he anticipates the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by three residents.
The village has three part-time employees, all receiving health care benefits, including one who has become eligible for Medicare, a change that lets the village provide secondary rather than primary coverage starting July 1, Mr. Hogue said.
The savings is offset by legal fees from the lawsuit and extra costs for review of proposed construction, Mr. Hogue said in outlining a $316,372 budget, down 2.95 percent from $324,800 last year.
The average assessed value of Island homes, including Dering Harbor, rose about 3.3 percent from 2014 to 2015, assessment records show. In addition to county and town taxes, village homeowners paid $2,643.53 per million of assessed value in village taxes this year; they will be billed $2,491.73 per million next year.
The judge in the lawsuit filed by Brad Golfarb, Alfredo Paredes and Martha Baker, who sued over ownership of narrow strips of land abutting their lots, was asked to dimiss the case, Village Attorney Joe Prokop reported.
A title expert has found records proving the properties belong to the village, Mr. Prokop said, adding, “It is unfortunate that the board had to go through a process that was very accusatory and for the most part lacked accuracy.”
On Monday, Village Building Inspector Al Daniels issued a stop-work order for alterations being made to the Goldfarb/Paredes parcel.
Resident James Goldman spoke at Saturday’s meeting against a proposal to charge those applying for building permits for expenses such as stenography service at Architectural Review Board meetings saying the law would diminish home values. He called property in Dering Harbor “the worst investment on Shelter Island. The reason is the ARB and the costs and obligations we put on people.”
The board unanimously adopted the new law and:
Increased to $600,000 from $500,000 the maximum it will seek in a state grant for the purchase of a generator and the replacement of its aging water tank.
Set village elections for June 21 from 12 noon to 9 p.m. at Village Hall; the mayor and trustees Brandon Rose and John Colby are running to keep their seats for another two years.
The ARB, meeting after the Village Board, continued its review of plans by an up-island company to build a spec house. Owners of 1 Dering Woods Lane LLC made their sixth appearance before the board since they first proposed a house on their 3.3 acre lot over a year ago.
They revisited details for their latest plan, a 5,400-square-foot house with an estimated cost to build of $1.7 million. The ARB rejected earlier plans after months of meetings last year. The new plan was approved by the building inspector; the ARB has until May 9 to rule on the plan.
Owners Joel Sunshine and Brian Feinstein and their architects displayed samples of the stone, brick, decking, siding, trim, windows, shutters, gutters and leaders to be used in construction, and two artists renderings of the proposed house, which is based on a mansion that stood in the village for decades before being demolished in the 1960s.
While some questioned minute details of the plan and others the financial capacity of the company to complete the project, including ARB member Rob Ferris, others expressed positive views.
“I think it quite a handsome house,” resident Esther Hunt said.