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This week in Shelter Island history

Old, open book with a damaged cover.


NASA launched the first successful manned Apollo mission from Cape Kennedy in Florida with astronauts Wally Shirra, Donn Eisele and Walter Cunningham aboard.Pope John XXIII convened the first ecumenical council of the Roman Catholic Church in 92 years

Major League Baseball star Billy Martin who played for the Yankees among other teams and would later go on to manage the Yankees was named manager of the Minnesota Twins

Actress and singer Jane Krakowski was born in Parsippany, New Jersey

The soundtrack for the 1968 film “Romeo and Juliet” was released

And on Shelter Island . . .


State tentatively okays Goat Hill grant

Word came that the New York State Department of Outdoor Recreation had tentatively approved a $150,000 grant to assist with the town’s purchase of the Shelter Island Country Club at Goat Hill. But before the grant would be paid, voters would have to approve a resolution to bond $268,000 that would be partially offset by the state money.

Residents were told that if the referendum were to fail, town officials feared the site would be purchased by a developer for private use.

The purchase, of course, occurred.

POSTSCRIPT: Today the town rents the property to the Shelter Island Country Club for a token $1 a year and the club maintains the golf course while the town has responsibility for maintenance of the club house that also houses The Flying Goat restaurant.


Town Board peruses 32 percent tax hike

Don’t get excited. That was at this time 30 years ago and it was only the start of meetings at which the entire Board would work to scale back spending from the original preliminary spending plan of $2.6 million.

On the other hand, when all was said and done, the final budget was approved that included a 25 percent tax hike.

POSTSCRIPT: The Town Board this year is in the midst of a line-by line review looking to try to scale back Supervisor Gary Gerth’s preliminary budget that if left untouched would hike spending by 16.9 percent for a $13.3 million budget of which $10.3 million would have to be raised from taxes.

It’s too early to predict where the Town Board will end up, but both Mr. Gerth and the rest of the Town Board have expressed a desire to scale back the original proposal.


Real estate lobby fights Community Preservation Fund

The Albany and Babylon-based real estate lobby launched an effort to defeat legislation aimed at creating the Peconic Bay Community Preservation Fund that would tax property buyers in order to create a means of preserving open spaces and farmland in the five East End towns.

Island leaders feared the effort would defeat the ballot proposal and lead to a lack of money to preserve more open space on the Island. It would also pose an issue to the Island’s fragile aquifer if more land were to be developed.

They also argued that the CPF concept had been tried and proved successful on Nantucket.

POSTSCRIPT: Assemblyman Fred Thiele Jr. (I-Sag Harbor), the moving force behind the effort to preserve open spaces and farmland on the East End won the day and the fund has generated $1.35 billion since money began flowing in 1999.

All five towns have also endorsed resolutions to spend up to 20 percent of their CPF money on water quality improvement projects, another vital East End need.


Critics fail to show at sole hearing on library expansion

It was 10 years ago at this time that the Shelter Island Library Board of Trustees held an informational meeting in advance of a vote on a plan to expand the building. But while there had been a number of critics of spending an anticipated $8.5 million to enlarge the library, none showed at the hearing.

Several who favored the expansion plan that was to be paid in annual installments over a 20-year period showed to ask specific questions about the constrtuction and a single undecided voter posed several questions.

But when push came to shove, voters rejected the plan by a vote of 655 to 187.

POSTSCRIPT: Today’s library has undergone a number of changes with money primarily coming from events launched by the Friends of the Library and various gifts, contributions and some grants.

Minor changes are planned in the year ahead, including a new side door to the library that will both save energy and provide improved security. The vote on the library’s $772,974, that would cost taxpayers $660,737 is slated for Saturday, October 27 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The balance of the budget comes from grants, contributions, fundraising, fees and fines and interest income.

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