For the first time in more than 10 years, Shelter Island will have a capital budget — the result of a campaign pledge from Supervisor Gary Gerth when he was elected last November.
The development was achieved largely by members of the Capital Planning/Grants Committee led by Councilman Jim Colligan, Mr. Gerth, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. and Town Engineer John Cronin.
The aim is to create a two-fold plan that would:
• Provide an inventory of all capital assets and set money aside for their repair or replacement before an emergency develops.
• Identify new capital projects or replacement capital projects that are major undertakings.
Helped along in the creation of the capital budget was $2.2 million the town has by accepting last spring a buyout of the cell tower located at the town Recycling Center instead of continuing to accept annual fees paid by companies with antennas on tower. The offer came from Florida-based SBA Communications.
The Town Board plans to take half the revenue, or $1.1 million and use it toward operating expenses over the next 19 years, Ms. Brach-Williams said.
Another $347,021 would be allocated to pay off the bond taken when the highway barn was built, which will save $17,604 in interest payments.
The cell tower money will also allow $376,490 to be set aside to fund programs that are either largely or entirely paid for through grants, but where the town needs to lay out the money before any grant reimbursement is forthcoming. The money would only be used toward the amount of the grant, not whatever portion of the project might have to be paid by the town.
Without such a fund, the town has had to bypass some grant opportunities because it lacked the up-front money needed to initially fund projects.
The Town Board plans to use $372,500 to pay all or part of the following projects planned for 2019:
• $62,500 to pay half the cost of installing license plate readers and cameras at North and South ferries with the other half coming from the Police Department’s 2019 budget.
• $40,000 to purchase a new generator at the Medical Center/Senior Services building.
• $120,000 for a storage building at the Highway Department.
• $150,000 to restore the bulkhead at Volunteer Park overlooking Dering Harbor.
The license plate readers and cameras are needed to improve security, Police Chief Jim Read told the Town Board. The still unsolved homicide of Reverend Canon Paul Wancura last March in Silver Beach robbed the Island of its sense of security, the chief said. He and Mr. Colligan visited Southampton this month to see how effectively plate readers and cameras work there.
While the Senior Center isn’t the town’s primary shelter in a storm — that’s Shelter Island School — the Center is another shelter option. Without a reliable generator, the Senior Center and doctors offices in the building are crippled when power gets knocked out.
Money spent for a storage building at the Highway Department will extend the life of vehicles currently stored outside, Mr. Card said. He also hopes to find money for a wash bay where equipment, especially snowplows, can be cleaned after a storm.
The bulkhead at Volunteer Park is in poor condition. Mike Anglin is replacing his bulkhead and the town is hoping to finalize a contract to continue the work at the same time. Mr. Card said he has already spoken with Mr. Anglin’s contractor and received a quote for the work.
If the town is able to get the four projects done in 2019, it would leave $3,990 of unallocated funds from the cell tower buyout.