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March 12, 2014

Bond Now, Pay Later


By Kitty Merrill

The East Hampton Town Board has authorized more than $1 million in bonding for a variety of capital expenses so far this year. Projects and purchases run the gamut from $250,000 in improvements to the parking lot and restrooms at Indian Wells Beach in Amagansett to the $10,000 purchase of a jet ski for lifeguards.

Last month members voted to advance certain funds before the bonding because, according to town budget officer Len Bernard, work and/or purchases need to commence before bond sales will be held.

Many of the projects are hold overs from the last administration's adopted capital program, though some, such as improvements at Indian Wells, and repairs including a new roof at Fort Pond House in Montauk ($75,000) are new. Debt service for the new programs will be reflected in the town's 2015 budget, Bernard explained.

The cost of two projects was revised from earlier approvals. Last April the town board voted to spend $30,000 to acquire and install new plates at the youth skate park. The cost, and the bond approval, was revised upward by $50,000 last week. The original cost of the project and the number of plates required was underestimated, Bernard explained. The same thing happened with a bond approval for a new Boom Mower for the town highway department. The first authorization listed $60,000 as the cost for the big rig, where $90,000 is more accurate.

In other news, the town board made quick work of its agenda last Thursday night. Co-town historian Stuart Vorpahl said he was "heartsick" to learn about problems with mold damaging town records. (Visit our website www.indyeastend.com to see previous coverage of the problem in our February 26 edition.)

Supervisor Larry Cantwell had good news to report. The town will hire an archivist with expertise in restoration to identify, catalogue, inventory and restore records. "The record management system in the town is not good," Cantwell opined. He said he is committed to getting a handle on how best to restore what's been damaged, preserve all the historic records, and digitize active records. Board members voted to put $75,000 towards the multi-year effort.

Speaking of mold problems, Lally Mockler, a resident of Windmill Village II, offered input on the mold problem at her housing complex. (It, too, was the subject of reportage in The Independent last month.)

According to Mockler, Tom Ruhle, the town's director of housing has refused to meet with the tenants' representatives to discuss the situation. Ruhle sent out letters seeking volunteers to speak about mold that plagues the complex. Instead, elected tenants' reps stepped up to speak, but, said Mockler, Ruhle wouldn't meet with them. "I find that offensive," she said. Cantwell promised to get to the bottom of her complaint.

Also last week, the board voted to commence new enforcement action against Cyril's Restaurant on Napeague Stretch. Community member David Buda wondered about the status of earlier court action that includes a number of outstanding zoning code violations, against the popular eatery. Town attorney Elizabeth Vail noted details of ongoing litigation are privileged.

kmerrill@indyeastend.com

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