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Dec 22, 2011 10:41 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Will End Year With Budget Surplus

Dec 22, 2011 10:41 PM

Southampton Town will end the year with a surplus of about $1.4 million, according to estimates tallied by Town Comptroller Tamara Wright and presented to the Town Board at its final meeting of 2011 on Thursday.

The good news is due in large part to tight financial management by department heads, Ms. Wright said. “It’s a great job by departments,” she said.

The surplus also results from lower costs than anticipated this year. For example, Ms. Wright said that the town’s Highway Fund is expected to end this year with a $400,000 surplus, mainly because there hasn’t been a snowstorm yet this winter.

Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst thanked Ms. Wright for a job well done this year, adding that she’s done a “yeoman’s job” in getting the town’s finances in order.

Residents Still Want Bag Ban

About a handful of residents expressed disappointment that the Town Board voted against considering a townwide plastic bag ban at a meeting earlier this month.

The residents, including many who reside in Southampton Village, which banned plastic bags earlier this year, urged the Town Board to reconsider, stressing that plastic bags are detrimental to Southampton Town’s fragile marine environment.

Sue Dubner, a member of Southampton Advocates for the Environment, a group that pushed Southampton Village to enact a ban earlier this year, cited statistics, noting that one person uses somewhere between 300 and 700 single-use plastic bags a year. Out of those, less than 2 percent are recycled, and about 10 percent end up in the ocean, she said.

“Let’s bring a new meaning to BYOB,” she said, echoing the “Bring Your Own Bag” slogan used by environmental organizations supporting the ban. “One reusable bag replaces 600 reusable bags in its lifetime … We will provide a beacon to others.”

Earlier this month, the Town Board’s Republican-Conservative majority—Town Board members Chris Nuzzi, Jim Malone and Nancy Graboski—voted against scheduling a public hearing on legislation that would have banned retailers townwide from distributing most plastic bags at checkout. They said they wanted to hold off on considering a law because they wanted businesses to pitch in on an educational campaign that would try to broadcast the benefits of reusable bags.

Farewell To Graboski

The Town Board on Thursday bid farewell to longtime Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, whose term expires at the end of the year.

Several town officials offered kind words about Ms. Graboski and thanked her for her eight years of service as a town councilwoman. Town Board members recognized Ms. Graboski in their remarks and wished her good luck.

Councilman Jim Malone began his remarks by saying there’s a different between a politician and public servant, and that he would “sorely miss her.” “Nancy is the epitome of a public servant,” he said.

Ms. Graboski thanked everyone for the recognition. “I’m speechless—what can I say,” she said. She added that she took her “role as the guardian of the public trust” very seriously, and that her life has been greatly enriched by serving the town.

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Are they sure about that surplus? Did they have a outside agency double & triple check the math? SHT Gov had not been too good w/ accurate accounting so I'm skeptical.
By G (333), Southampton on Dec 23, 11 8:40 AM
1 member liked this comment
About a handful? How many is that I wonder....
By em (50), east hampton on Dec 23, 11 10:42 AM
1 member liked this comment
I'm trying to picture how many people can be held in a hand... Come on Rhobba, you are a better writer than that (I hope)
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Dec 23, 11 11:08 AM
Don't get personal. You have no idea how hard Press reporters work or how thankless their jobs feel sometimes, due largely to the meanness of readers like you.
I'm sure constructive criticism would be more welcome: "Readers might have a better sense of the public discussion if the story was more specific on the number of speakers."
By bailey (52), East Hampton on Dec 23, 11 11:46 AM
Heyyyy, how about that? A surplus, you say? See, when the Republicans were running the finances, we had what you call a "deficit" at the end of the year -- several years, actually. That means the Town was short of money. So now, with a new team in charge, we have extra money at year-end -- a surplus. How bad can that be?

G is right, in the first post under this piece, to be skeptical and call for extra checking, because as he says, accurate accounting was not a hallmark of Southampton ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 23, 11 11:49 AM
What are you talking about? The Republican /Conservative group have a 3-2 majority. Talk about spin!!!
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 23, 11 3:50 PM
2 members liked this comment
I'm talking about that very majority to which you refer. Indeed, the Republican/Conservative group has a 3-2 majority on the Town Board, which is what I said, and what you're saying. That majority consists of Republicans Chris Nuzzi and Nancy Graboski plus Conservative Jim Malone. It's that majority which I say flouted the will of the people, as expressed in the people's written and spoken comments to the Town Board, by appointing Russell Kratoville to his redundant job last year, and by killing ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 24, 11 2:57 PM
I agree the Kratoville appointment was a less than stellar mark for that crowd. Same could be said for the Wilson appointment I guess.

But how do you find that the 2 person minority is responsible for the budget surplus? That Sir, is the spin to which I refer.

Merry Christmas.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 24, 11 7:29 PM
OK, thanks for the clarification. Whatever else may be said about the Wilson appointment, it was an open process with ample time allowed for input from all (and there was plenty of input). That was decidedly not the case with the Kratoville appointment.

Re the budget surplus, note the congrats in my initial post here. None of them are addressed to the Rep/Cons. majority, and there are good reasons for that. First, the Supervisor is the chief financial officer of the Town and takes prime ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 25, 11 2:44 PM
TB says:
"Remember, that Kratoville appointment of which we both disapprove was just part of an 18-amendment, last-minute assault made against ATH's budget by these three,"

Please note I didn't say I was not in favor of the appointment, it was the process I commented on. The 18 amendments in the resolution made the ATH budget theirs. If I were to spend the time doing research here, I am sure i would find predictions of doom and gloom for the CY 2011 budget. Either way, the 2011 budget ...more
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 26, 11 12:01 PM
The Republicans/Conservative are in charge, you whacko. It's a 3-2 board. You are just plain pathetic, George.
By getalife (59), Southampton on Dec 26, 11 3:39 PM
The Republicans/Conservative are in charge, you idiot. It's a 3-2 board. You are just plain pathetic, George. Get a life.
By getalife (59), Southampton on Dec 26, 11 3:40 PM
You wrote, "the Kratoville appointment was a less than stellar mark for that crowd." Sure sounds like you weren't for it, but if you were, that makes about 4 people in the whole town who were in favor -- you and the three three Board members who voted for it. Sorry, make that 5 people; I forgot Marietta Seaman, Russell's former boss at OTB, who probably conceived and dictated the whole thing.

I stand by my statement about the Wilson appointment process being open and making time for wide ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 26, 11 4:27 PM
I believe that the Chief fiscal officer and the democrat minority abstained and voted against this budget that was adopted last year that is ending in a surplus this year. Very interesting that Turkey and they were bashing the majority for ramming it through and saying how it will destroy Town finances this time last year! Now they sing a different tune and everyone is trying to pat themselves on the back for a job well done and stealing all the credit!
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Dec 26, 11 6:10 PM
Ridiculous, you're missing two important points (actually pretty good for you, to miss only two):

[1] As I mentioned above, the Gang of Three's amendments were all undone after being passed, so the operative budget wasn't their version.

[2] Achieving a surplus is a matter of more than just passing a budget. It took the Supervisor's initiative and leadership to cut costs, Bridget Fleming's vital support, Comptroller's Tamara Wright's massive work effort and that of her staff, ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 26, 11 6:47 PM
I'm curious what was cut out of the budget during this year and what has changed that altered it from the adopted?
What was undone?

In all honestly I give no elected credit for the surplus, it belongs to the departments for not spending to their budget, with the exception of the new police chief who is unaware of what a budget it.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Dec 29, 11 6:59 PM
By the way, I howl for anyones head who creates or inflates a deficit regardless of political affiliation.
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Dec 29, 11 7:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Good, ridiculous, you should be after anyone responsible for a deficit, so let me put the matter another way: If the other side were in charge when the year ended in a surplus, I don't think you'd be trying to chip away at their achievement the way you are with the ATH team here.

As far as what was undone, you can find it in the record of Town Board meetings. What I'm going by is the fact that ATH more than once publicly stated that all 18 budget amendments by the Rep/Cons majority were ...more
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 30, 11 11:17 AM
But the ATH Budget tried to raise taxes, so she is for more spending. This is not her budget, she abstained. None of the reorganization occurred, her spending increases did not happen, and the "business department" is alive and well.

Nothing was undone that was adopted as part of the budget. You provide no proof. I am very familiar with the Board minutes that is why I am asking you to tell me because I don't see any. Linda Kabot did not let her slide on any budget issue. In fact the 2012 ...more
By ridiculous (214), hampton bays on Dec 30, 11 12:13 PM
As I said, I'm going by the Supervisor's statements. If they're wrong, then they're wrong, but that would surprise me, because as I also said, Linda Kabot never challenged them. You're quite right to say "Linda Kabot did not let her slide on any budget issue," or any other issue, for that matter, and Ms. Kabot wouldn't have let these statements pass without objection if they weren't true.
By Turkey Bridge (1947), Quiogue on Dec 30, 11 4:13 PM
lets not forget about the people (like myself) that were let go!!!! well my letter stated in not exact words but do to budget constraints your position has been abolished. well the belt i see now is loosened - can i have my job back????
By redtransam89 (4), east quogue on Jan 10, 12 8:14 AM
1 member liked this comment
I'm sure that surplus could go to good use paying more police overtime.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Dec 23, 11 11:58 AM
How much of the Police OT was reimbursed by groups who used the Police for special events and how much was just lining the Police pockets and keeping ATH political base happy?
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Dec 27, 11 10:41 AM
1 member liked this comment
That's good newfor the taxpayers!
By decoflair (4), westhampton on Dec 24, 11 5:04 AM
Translation: You have been overtaxed. But we already knew that.
By Glazed (21), Southampton on Dec 24, 11 6:40 AM
3 members liked this comment
How do they know what the year end numbers are? I doubt they even have received the utility bills for December yet. In a town I believe you count costs in the year the expenses are incurred. That means all the bills that come in after January 1st for pre-January 1 costs are counted for 2011. So how do they know exactly what the year end numbers are for 2011? It has to be a projection based on an estimate -- always dangerous to do.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Dec 26, 11 7:59 PM
How do they know what the year end numbers are? I doubt they even have received the utility bills for December yet. In a town I believe you count costs in the year the expenses are incurred. That means all the bills that come in after January 1st for pre-January 1 costs are counted for 2011. So how do they know exactly what the year end numbers are for 2011? It has to be a projection based on an estimate -- always dangerous to do.
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Dec 26, 11 7:59 PM
One last comment -- the article says the Highway budget came in $400,000 in the black because of no snow storms. But what about the leaf pick-up program? In addition to picking up those bags many people had loose piles in front of their homes sucked up by the Highway Department -- not in the plan. That had to take more time and resources than budgeted. Has the final bill for all the leaf pick-up been tallied? I see very large piles still sitting around -- like along the highway just east of ...more
By mrmako61 (148), southampton on Dec 27, 11 10:54 AM
If what you suspect happens, mrmako, and Highway Dept. ops turn the surplus into a deficit, the guilty party will be our brilliant Highway Superintendent, Alex Gregor. Alex has been too busy feuding with the Town Board to take care of business. This means the leaf program has been all over the lot, going first one way and then the other on pickups, dump charges, age preferences and vouchers.

Residents have understandably reacted with outrage and confusion, but this and other Highway ...more
By clam pie (161), Westhampton on Dec 28, 11 4:53 PM
please take some of that surplus and apply it to returning garbage cans to north sea beach...and the weekly removl of garbage...by now the scofflaws who used the cans for their household garbage have learned their lesson and will stop beibg so " clever " and cheap, or they have gone to their winter residences. those of us using the beaches have been overwhelmed with the amount of garbage we must remove on a daily basis...from people who just throw their garbage on the road or beach now that there ...more
By Vikki K (490), Southampton on Jan 3, 12 1:38 PM
Are you kidding me Vikki K? With all the that is lacking in this town you want a garbage can down at north sea beach so you can throw out your dog waste. I used to go down there once in a while but not any more because of all you dog owners throwing dog waste in the parking lot. You people make me sick.
By GoldenBoy (341), EastEnd on Jan 5, 12 3:30 PM
HOW ABOUT A REFUND FOR THE TAXPAYERS??!! AFTER ALL IT'S OUR MONEY!
By bigfresh (4374), north sea on Jan 9, 12 7:53 AM
I read an interesting article in a NYC paper this morning. Seems theirs allegations that Honest Jim Malone is using his political office to strong arm a contractor working on his Hampton Bays home. How come no local new outfits carry this??
By mrobin (119), North Sea on Jan 9, 12 12:44 PM
I saw the same article in the NY Post on page 6 and also wondered why 27east, or Patch did not pick up the story. Taped conversations leave very little doubt about what really happened.
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Jan 9, 12 1:07 PM
thats great can i have my job back than???????????????????
By redtransam89 (4), east quogue on Jan 9, 12 7:28 PM