May 31, 2006

School and Town Boards Sit Down

Only days after the Riverhead school board vote, members of the board appeared at last week's town board work session to discuss their worries regarding abatements.

The concerns of the school board centered around Riverhead's industrial development agency, as well as the state economic development zone.

In the cases of new construction, the IDA and The EDZ have the right, instead of paying full taxes, to pay special district taxes, such as water, sewer, fire, and ambulance, but will also receive an abatement, translating into a reduction over a period of ten years.

Riverhead School Superintendent Paul Doyle voiced the board's concerns over future abatements, and said that the school board has the right to refuse abatement, and "could conceivably inhibit" the town's ability to market such properties.

"Residents are concerned about having to subsidize commercial real estate," said Doyle, and questioned the board's intent in regard to future abatements."

Supervisor Phil Cardinale reminded that the IDA is a separate body, not the town board, whose members are appointed by the town board and, while they take recommendations, do what they wish.

And, should the Riverhead IDA not take any actions, Cardinale reminded that Suffolk County has an IDA that entities could approach in regard to receive tax abatements.

The supervisor also explained that there are other abatements, including sales and mortgage taxes, as well as the issuance of tax-free bonds.

Cardinale said he had never heard that the school board legally had the right to reject abatements and asked to see the case law in a letter.

He also told members of the school board that the town board would like to continue to "cooperate for a common purpose."

Indian Island Irrigation

The board discussed the proposed $3.3 million irrigation project at Indian Island golf course which would help keep the estuaries cleaner by filtrating wastewater.

After discussing costs, Cardinale said that even after $2.1 million in bonds, there would still be a shortfall of $105,000, which could rise to over $400,000 if estimations regarding future connection fees are incorrect.

The board agreed that before moving forward a study would be necessary.

Also discussed was the concept of asking neighboring municipalities Southold and Southampton for assistance, as well as the county.

Special Board Meeting

The board held a special meeting at its last work session to accommodate the fact that there was a three week stretch in between meetings. At the meeting, the board passed a resolution to sign an agreement with Long Island Compost, Inc. and a modification to the town's current reclamation contract with Grimes Contracting.

The move would enable tainted sands/soils at the Youngs Avenue landfill to be used for bioremediation and then be returned as reclaimed sand.

The decision was seen as a cost-savings measure.

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