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Apr 3, 2012 4:14 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Board Poised To Vote On Multiyear Capital Budget On Thursday

Apr 3, 2012 5:18 PM

After more than three years of holding the line on town projects and improvements, the East Hampton Town Board plans to vote on a $7.3 million 2012-14 capital budget plan at a meeting on Thursday.

According to a draft copy of the capital budget provided by Town Budget Officer Len Bernard, if approved, the Town Board would plan to borrow a little more than $2 million this year, $3 million in 2013 and $2.2 million in 2014. Some big ticket items on the list include a $780,000 purchase of six dump trucks for the Town Highway Department, road reconstruction in the Town Highway Department at a cost of $750,000, a $600,000 upgrade of the Three Mile Harbor Mobile Home Park septic system and a $420,000 purchase of vehicles in the Town Police Department.

Broken down by fund, the Highway Fund comprises $2.9 million of the total $7.3 million capital budget plan. The Sanitation Fund accounts for $1.1 million of the plan. The Part-Town General Fund makes up $582,000 and projects applied to the Whole Town General Fund total $2.4 million.

Town officials stressed at a work session on Tuesday the plan is not set in stone and can be amended. Deputy Town Clerk Carole Brennan also said that separate resolutions must be drafted when the Town Board actually chooses to borrow the money.

The plan is largely shaped by a New York State 2-percent tax levy cap, which limits the amount of money the town can collect in taxes from residents. Under the cap, explained Mr. Bernard, the municipality can raise its levy only by a total of $868,245 next year. Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson said he wants to keep borrowing low this year so that the amount of debt service the town pays on the loans next year will be $365,447, leaving a cushion of about $500,000 in discretionary spending next year.

When Mr. Bernard recommended pushing off the first half of the Three Mile Harbor Mobile Home Park septic system project back by a year to 2013, Town Councilwoman Theresa Quigley opposed it. She said that the 16 families living in the mobile home park have dealt with sewerage flooding the streets for years, and that not moving forward as soon as possible would pose a “potential for contamination” in Three Mile Harbor. She also pointed out that there’s $350,000 in the capital budget allocated for bulkhead repairs that could be better served going toward the septic system upgrade. “I would rather put the money in the 16 local families,” she said.

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