Gurney's Inn
August 09, 2006

McGintee Presides Over A Quickie

The East Hampton Town Board's most recent formal meeting was a typical midsummer quickie. Last Friday morning, board members made quick work of an agenda highlighted by a panoply of summer gathering permits, but little else. Just one community member came out to offer public comment in an outing that concluded in under 60 minutes.

Martin Drew of Springs queried the board as to the status of the town's telecommunications advisory committee. An appointed member of the body, he complained that it has been disbanded and hasn't met. Additionally, he expressed concern regarding the operation of the local cable public access television station LTV.

According to Drew, LTV has begun renting space in its Wainscott facility to a private filmmaker. The move curtails the public's ability to make optimal use of the TV studio's resources, he contends. "We've lost something as the public," Drew said.

If LTV is leasing space because money is an issue, Drew suggested the town increase the amount of money it gives the non-profit entity. The town currently shares franchise fees it receives from Cablevision with LTV.

Following Drew's testimony, Supervisor Bill McGintee reminded that LTV leases the land on which its facility rests from the town. The town doesn't play a role in how the building is used. That's a decision left to the public station's board of directors, not the town board, he explained. "They can do what they want with their building," the supervisor opined. McGintee appeared satisfied with the relationship with LTV, pointing out "they are still providing what we want" — education and government as well as community programming. The board of LTV has a right to make their own decisions, McGintee emphasized.

Following the meeting, Jon Bonci, executive director of LTV, reported that the station did indeed discuss the lease of space with town officials before moving forward. The agreement between LTV and the town allows for the leasing of space if the use is related to filmmaking and television. "We're well within our rights to do this," Bonci concluded.

In other board business, members voted to retain the engineering firm Savik & Murray to undertake airport runway testing. The effort is part of a pavement management study, McGintee explained. The study is a part of an overall creation of a master plan for the town airport in Wainscott.

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