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Hike in Recycling Center fees delayed

The Town Board at its Tuesday work session agreed to delay hiking fees at the Recycling Center in order to look at the fact that while most of the raises represent about a 15% increase. But bringing wood chips to the Recycling Center would have resulted in a 40% increase.

Landscape contractor Fred Hyatt told the Town Board he had no notice and was surprised to be hit by the large fee. When negotiating a job with a client, he based the price on the old fee schedule and had to go back to the client to raise his previously agreed upon cost of the work. The client was not happy, Mr. Hyatt said. The board agreed that fee will be adjusted down and it will take a close look at a fee hike for bringing leaves to the Recycling Center.

Former Public Works Commissioner Jay Card Jr. said because wet leaves are so much heavier than dry ones, those who delay removal of leaves from properties are more likely to be penalized by a higher fee for leaf removal. Walter Richards agreed and said the fees have to be adjusted in a more fair way.

• It’s still unclear whether money from the Water Quality Improvement Advisory Board (WQI) that comes from the Community Preservation Fund can be used to pay for changes that have been needed to lower nitrogen levels at Shelter Island Presbyterian Church. What brought the town into the process is that in non-COVID times, the church has provided lunches for seniors on Mondays and Fridays and done food preparation there at other times.

It would appear that the WQI money that has primarily been used to assist residents in upgrading their own septic systems can’t be used for the church project because it is an “end of pipe” effort not covered by the guidelines set forth in the state legislation allowing for use of CPF money, Councilman Albert Dickson said. But at the suggestion of Supervisor Gerry Siller, it is likely the money will initially come from the WQI and if it’s deemed an inappropriate use of the funds, WQI will be reimbursed from the town’s contingency fund.

• A house in severe disrepair at 169 Ram Island Drive that now belongs to JP Morgan, Inc. will be demolished and steps could be taken to fill in an adjoining pool that encroaches on wetlands.

The house is filled with vermin, posing a health risk. Its flooring on the first floor is unstable and could result in someone entering the building falling through to the basement. People have either been squatting at the house or holding parties at the site.

Building Inspector Chris Tehan said there are six outstanding violations on the property and agreed with a court order allowing for the demolition and a Planning Board recommendation that steps be taken to alleviate dangers as quickly as possible.

With the demolition will come some provisions that would affect a new owner once the bank sells the property. It’s expected that an application to build a new house would require it be moved from the wetlands and the existing pool would likely have to be moved out of the wetlands as well. A damaged bulkhead would have to be replaced. And even after the house is demolished, but before the site changes hands, steps might have to be taken to either fence or fill in the existing pool that is in poor shape, Mr. Tehan said.

• The Board delayed action on an employee evaluation system it wants to implement because more training of those who would be doing evaluations is necessary and employees have had no notice until now of the evaluations. What is expected to happen is that training opportunities will be identified and employees will learn about the likelihood of evaluations happening at the end of 2021.

At the same time, the draft as written included a scale of ratings. At the suggestion of Councilman Jim Colligan and with agreement from other Town Board members, the scale is expected to be eliminated. All agreed the aim should be to encourage employees to reach goals but not become a punitive process.