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What a relief: Beach bathroom gets funding

Arthur Bloom outlined for the Town Board at the Tuesday work session reasons for expanding town code language on the responsibilities of the fire marshal and code enforcement officer.

The Christmas gift the Town Board was hoping would arrive early came Tuesday. The New York State Department of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation decided the town will receive a grant of $113,370 to complete the bathroom project at Crescent Beach.

Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams made the announcement toward the end of Tuesday’s Town Board work session.

The town has already spent money on engineering plans and was prepared to push forward with the project in 2019 with or without the grant, but now that money can be redirected toward several unfunded capital projects.

In other business: A discussion at Tuesday’s meeting about changes to the town code affecting the fire marshall and code enforcement officer highlighted a difference in philosophy between the man who holds those two jobs and a councilman with a Libertarian outlook.

Fire Marshall and Code Enforcement Officer Arthur Bloom and Councilman Paul Shepherd spent more than an hour discussing their views of whether the town code should be tweaked slightly as Mr. Shepherd would like, or expanded in major ways to spell out specifics of situations that could arise, as Mr. Bloom suggested.

Mr. Bloom and Town Attorney Bob DeStefano have already spent six months looking at New York State recommendations and codes of other East End municipalities.

The several pages Mr. Bloom suggested incorporating in the code were needed, he said, to cover an extensive number of eventual possibilities.

“I’m always going to opt for smaller rather than larger,” Mr. Shepherd told Mr. Bloom. “I’m always reluctant to add more government involvement.”

Mr. Bloom argued that the existing town code already has many inconsistencies that need to be straightened out. Once that’s done, his suggestions should be added to create two different departments and make allowances for what someday might be expansions to those departments. He said procedures for handling code enforcement needs to be specifically spelled out.

Ms. Brach-Williams and Councilman Albert Dickson also asked Mr. Bloom a number of questions about the draft, with Supervisor Gary Gerth adding that, while the discussion had been fruitful, he wanted a four-member committee — himself, Mr. Shepherd, Mr. DeStefano and Mr. Bloom — to meet to thrash out differences and arrive at language that fits the needs of Shelter Island.