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Town moves to grant rebates for septic system installations

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO At a ground breaking ceremony September 23 at Sylvester Manor Education Farm for a wastewater septic system unique to Suffolk County,  manning the first shovel were, from left, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac). Sara Gordon, the Manor’s director of planning and development and Supervisor Jim Dougherty.

ELEANOR P. LABROZZI PHOTO
At a ground breaking ceremony September 23 at Sylvester Manor Education Farm for a wastewater septic system unique to Suffolk County, manning the first shovel were, from left, Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), County Legislator Bridget Fleming (D-Noyac). Sara Gordon, the Manor’s director of planning and development and Supervisor Jim Dougherty.

The town has taken a major step in helping residents building homes to pay bills to install state-of-the-art, nitrogen-reducing septic systems, as well as homeowners upgrading systems who are doing reconstruction of 50 percent or more of their residences.

At Tuesday’s Town Board work session, members tweaked a set of rules and regulations on septic upgrades presented by the Water Quality Improvement Projects Advisory Board. The Water Quality board has access to about $440,000 for improvement projects, but must allocate the funds by the end of this year or the money will revert to the Community Preservation Fund (CPF).

Money for the CPF comes from a 2 percent tax buyers pay when purchasing East End properties and is used to purchase open space for preservation. But towns are allowed to use up to 20 percent of CPF funds collected annually to fund water protection programs, and for Shelter Island, that fund is now at $440,000.

The board will vote on Friday at its regular bimonthly meeting to accept the Water Quality board’s recommendations.
In addition to granting up to $15,000 in rebates to homeowners for private systems, the board will also accept recommendations to use CPF money for projects at Wades Beach and the American Legion Hall.

One important part of the agreement will be that the board will not have to hold a public hearing on each homeowner asking for a rebate, but just pass a resolution on the matter. See a future story on the Reporter’s website and next week’s print edition on how to apply for rebates.

In other business: Supervisor Jim Dougherty said he had attended a Southold Town Board work session to discuss a shared services initiative between the towns, especially in employing Southold Town Engineer Michael Collins to do work on the Island. It would cost the town about $80 an hour and the estimated time could be about 200 hours, Mr. Dougherty said.

Resident Vincent Novak addressed the board, expressing concern about potential dangers posed by the Millstone Nuclear Power Plant in Connecticut, which, as Mr. Novak pointed out, is 17 miles from the Island .

He noted that there had been a series of emergencies at the plant and that Suffolk County and East End municipalities were not doing enough to ensure the safety of residents. Mr. Novak suggested that Mr. Dougherty, as chairman of the East End Supervisors and Mayors Association, could put the matter on the agenda at the next meeting of the group. Mr. Dougherty said he would mention it to his colleagues.

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