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Jun 16, 2017 3:17 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Community Appears To Support East Quogue Parks District Proposal

Brian Babcock with a rendering of what he said Main Street could look like with new trees. JEN NEWMAN
Jun 21, 2017 9:54 AM

A proposal to create a special park taxing district in East Quogue appears to have ample community support, with most attending an informational meeting on Thursday evening, June 15, at the hamlet’s elementary school requesting that the idea be put up for a public vote this November.

A special park district, the proceeds from which would be used to pay for general maintenance in the hamlet, as well as various beautification initiatives and future capital improvements, could be created through a special referendum in the fall. The other option, as explained by Southampton Town Attorney Kathleen Murray to the estimated 40 people in attendance, would be to give the Town Board the authority to create the taxing district on its own.

East Quogue residents Brian Babcock and Jamie Maloney have been pushing for the district’s creation, citing the run-down appearance of Main Street in their hometown. Similar park districts already exist in neighboring Hampton Bays, as well as east of the Shinnecock Canal in both Bridgehampton and Water Mill.

As the proposal stands now, the East Quogue Parks District would seek to levy about $28,000 annually from those living within the boundaries of the East Quogue School District, and the actual tax rate would be based on individual house assessments, similar to how school taxes are calculated. Therefore, a taxpayer whose property is valued at $400,000 would pay about $6.46 in park district taxes annually under the current proposal. A person whose home is valued at $600,000 would pay about $9.70 a year.

“I understand it is an increase in your taxes,” Mr. Babcock passionately told residents in attendance on Thursday, June 15. “I understand it’s an increase out of your pocket. This is a situation where you’re gonna work hard for your money and you’re gonna see results.

“That’s going to increase value of your house,” continued Mr. Babcock, who was voted on to the East Quogue Board of Education last month. “It’s going to bring more people into [East Quogue]. It’s going to look good.”

Southampton Town Park Director Kristen Doulos explained that if the district is eventually established, her department would continue completing basic maintenance—cutting grass, trimming trees, maintaining beaches and cleaning up garbage on public property in the hamlet.

According to the initial plan created by Mr. Babcock, the new park district would fund the removal of several trees along Main Street, between Bay and Central avenues, that are in bad shape and replace them with smaller, healthier ones that will not block the signs of nearby businesses. The plan also calls for mulching, weeding, planting and general upkeep at the East Quogue Village Green. Mr. Babcock added that, in the future, he would like to see some of the district funds used to repair the playground and gazebo inside the park, and possibly install a community garden.

A few residents, including East Quogue Civic Association President Al Algieri, raised questions about the proposal, including whether $28,000 in annual funding is enough to accomplish the outlined goals, suggesting that taxes could increase more than they are now projected.

Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who was in attendance on Thursday, noted that any increase to the district would be subject to the state’s 2 percent cap on tax levies. He also noted that any substantial increase in park district taxes would force officials to cut spending from other parts of the town’s budget or pierce the cap.

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LOL...the picture of what 'main st. could look like' appears to just be a drawing of what main st. currently looks like.

By adlkjd923ilifmac.aladfksdurwp (394), southampton on Jun 16, 17 3:31 PM
1 member liked this comment
Sounds like a good idea, but we all know it will turn into nothing but wasteful spending and increased taxes. Dont we learn anything from all the other tax funded programs?????
By HaMpToNzSukS (12), east quogue on Jun 18, 17 11:46 AM
1 member liked this comment
Criminal.
By The Real World (322), southampton on Jun 19, 17 8:24 AM
I can't support a proposal by a man who is for the development called, "The Hills." Mr. Babcock wants to change our hamlet by allowing The Discovery Land Company to build their project. NO to any new taxes!!!

How about the businesses getting together and taking care of Main St. in EQ?

I would be willing to put in some work at our EQ Green to make some improvements. I will help with the sweat equity needed here to help our hamlet augment the Southampton Town workforce.
By crusader (365), East Quogue on Jun 19, 17 6:36 PM