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Dering Harbor September meeting report

The Sept. 14 Village of Dering Harbor Trustees meeting began with unanimous votes to adopt the “Local Law amending §8-800 of the zoning law with respect to the organization of the board of appeals, training and appointment of alternate members” and the “Local Law amending Article X of the Zoning Law to add a new §10-105 with respect to the Chairperson of the Board of Architectural Review, training and appointment of alternate members.”

Both laws aim to allow for the appointment of an alternate board member if there should be an occasional conflict where a current board member could not attend, without whom a quorum would not be possible.

It was determined that a public hearing should remain open regarding “a local law amending the navigation, surface water use and mooring regulations of 2012 prohibiting transient anchoring and living on boats at docks.”

The village is still in talks with the Town of Shelter Island to determine the current mooring areas. “The harbor is an important asset and we want to be sure it’s well managed, so we want to take our time sorting this all out,” said board member Patrick Parcells. A motion was made to postpone further discussion until the January 2020 board meeting when a new Town Board will be sworn in.

The Treasurer’s Report introduced a report from East End Accounting as an example of the type of report that will be presented regularly at future meetings. The accounting firm was hired “to clean up from the past and help pass an audit,” Mr. Parcells said.

There is one accuracy issue in the current report, but Deputy Mayor Karen Kelsey indicated “this is a line item issue from the past that doesn’t affect where we are today.” The board seemed confident this would be quickly resolved, and future reports will offer an accurate account of where the village budget is at the current time each month it is presented.

Mr. Parcells presented a report highlighting the benefits of the village’s partnership with the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA). The meter installation project was completed in June, with the latest meter read on Aug. 13. According to the meter reads, the amount of water production was cut in half and the chlorides are 7% or 8% of what they were in 2018. “We now have data we can use to know the water usage at each home, which helps us discover leaks and other issues,” Mr. Parcells said. “Having meters also makes people conscientious of usage and conservation. This time next year, this will result in a significant savings.”

The report included information detailing the current short-term agreement with SCWA and a potential long-term agreement with the organization. The short-term agreement was initially for a one-year term and has been extended twice. The short-term agreement expires soon, and Mr. Parcells anticipates it will soon be replaced with a long-term agreement.

A long-term agreement would have an economic impact on village residents, the first being that residents would be billed for the water they use, the second being the cost of capital improvements, which would be reflected in annual property taxes. Mr. Parcells “does not anticipate any meaningful impact on property taxes because the amortization expenses for the capital improvements would largely be offset by the elimination of the operating expenses that we currently incur for the water distribution system.”

The board adopted a resolution to approve the extension of the current short-term agreement until Nov. 1, in the hopes a long-term agreement is ready to implement by that date.

Prior to the board meeting, the Zoning Board of Appeals met to consider an applicant’s request for subpoenas of the mayor, the village building inspector, and the town records relating to an ongoing issue. According to Wayne Bruyn, Village Attorney, “The board didn’t see their testimony as relevant to the applicant’s request for interpretation of a statute and decided not to issue subpoenas. Everything the applicant needs is available through the Freedom of Information Act and through public records.” The ZBA meeting ended by adjourning until October.