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Suffolk County would pay for Shelter Island special election, not the town

If the Island were to hold a special election to fill the fifth seat on the Town Board, the cost of the election would be borne by Suffolk County, not town property taxes.

Suffolk County Board of Elections Deputy Commissioner Gail M. Lolis  confirmed to the Reporter on Monday morning that the County would pay for costs to run a special election — if one is called — to fill the vacant seat on the Town board.

Republican Party Chairman Gary Blados also confirmed that he had spoken to a Board of Elections official who said the BOE and not the Town would pay for the election.

The Shelter Island Democrats on the Town Board have maintained that the town would bear the costs of running an election and have given that as one reason not to have it.

The cost of a special election would be expected to total $26,000, Mr. Blados said. It’s calculated at a cost of $2,000 for each of the town’s four election districts and then another $2,000 a day for nine days of early voting.

The only special elections the county would not cover would be for the school and fire districts and village special elections.

A Better Island For All, a Democratic political organization that backed Gordon Gooding in a successful primary bid against incumbent  Supervisor Gerry Siller, and supported the winning ticket of Albert Dickson and Benjamin Dyett for the Town Board, sent out a newsletter on Monday stating: “We do not support a special election for many reasons. It would be a big distraction from addressing the urgent needs of the Town and focusing on our goals. By design, it would benefit  the presumptive Republican candidate, who lost his race for Town Board in the last general election and would prefer to run in a low-turnout special election rather than run in the November general election. It would be a waste of some $30,000, which could be better used in any number of ways.”

The “presumptive Republican candidate” mentioned is Thomas Cronin.

The organization also stated: “A Better Island for All will announce, and begin circulating petitions for Gordon Gooding, to run for the vacant Town Board seat. If there is a Democratic primary, it will be held on June 25.”