In what has become a typical 11th hour scramble, the Southampton Town Board introduced 35-pages of amendments to the 2013 operating budget just hours before the budget was scheduled to be adopted on Tuesday, the last day the budget could be approved under state law.
The amendments, most of them offered with the support of both Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst and the Town Council’s Republican-Conservative majority, restore funding for several positions that had been eliminated in Ms. Throne-Holst’s original budget proposal, eliminate two longtime employees’ positions and fund the hiring of two new full-time Town Police officers.
The board will lay off Assistant Planning Administrator Freda Eisenberg and Grant Coordinator Karen Johnson.
“It’s regretful that Freda is not included in this budget, but it frees up funds to restructure the land management department a little bit and in the end we all came to that agreement,” Ms. Throne-Holst, who had supported Ms. Eisenberg being hired as the planning and development administrator to replace Jefferson Murphree, said on Tuesday morning. “In terms of the grants coordinator … we don’t have the same volume of grants we once had. The federal, state and county governments aren’t putting out the kinds of grants they used to. It’s a different animal today and it’s something we can use existing staff for.”
The two new police officers, the supervisor said, will allow the town to expand the department’s Community Response Unit, a neighborhood patrol detail, and the department’s overall presence in the Flanders section of town.
The two new officers will start at salaries of $53,000 per year plus $39,000 in benefit costs.
The board is proposing to restore the funding for two full-time traffic control officers that Ms. Throne-Holst had originally cut from the budget and add a third full-time officer, who will earn $42,000 per year plus $21,000 in benefits.
The budget also restores the full-time salary for the executive director of SEA-TV, Bruce Nalepinsky, whose salary had been cut in half in the initial budget, prompting a litany of complaints and pleas for its restoration from members of the committee that advises the town on its government and education channel.
Market Scoping Session
The Southampton Town Board will hold a scoping session on November 27 for a zone change request that calls for the construction of a 30,000-square-foot King Kullen supermarket and several accompanying stores off County Road 39 in Tuckahoe.
The scoping session will be held during the board’s regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. in Town Hall.
The Tuckahoe Center proposal asks the board to change the zoning on 7.25 acres of land on the south side of County Road 39 to allow the construction of the supermarket.