Environmental advocates and some builders voiced support this week for a proposal to require all newly constructed commercial structures in Southampton Town comply with Energy Star standards.
The mandate follows a similar one for residential structures that was adopted by the Town Board last year. That code change required that all new homes in the town comply with Energy Star, a program backed by the U.S. government that encourages energy efficiency.
During a public hearing on the proposal at Tuesday’s Town Board meeting, Group for the East End President Bob DeLuca sang its praises. “The proposal is a great first step forward,” he said, adding that he was glad that the town made the environment a priority.
The new requirement, which was drafted by the Sustainable Southampton Green Advisory Committee, would be incorporated into the town’s building construction code as an amendment, according to a copy of the resolution.
The Town Board will vote on the proposal at its February 25 meeting, which will be held at 6 p.m.
Town Councilman Chris Nuzzi offered some dissent Tuesday, questioning how much it would cost builders to comply with the new requirement as compared to the old standard.
Chief Building Inspector Mike Benincasa said that it would cost a bit more up front to comply with Energy Star standards, but Green Committee members Edson Brolin and Paul Rogers said that meeting the proposed standards would pay for itself over time in decreased utility costs.
“As long as you plan for it, you minimize the costs,” said Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst, who has long championed more environmentally friendly building regulations.
Pat Trunzo, a builder in East Hampton, took to the podium during Tuesday’s meeting to express his support for the resolution, as well. “This is more than a little step,” he said. “This is a definite step forward with what we need to do.”
Staffing Cuts Finalized
Also on Tuesday, the Town Board finalized staffing cuts that were made during the 2010 budgeting process by officially eliminating 17 civil service positions from its records. Ms. Throne-Holst explained that the funding for the civil service positions was taken away during the budgeting process, but the job titles had to be deleted.
“Rather than have them linger as unfilled positions, we made sure that they are no longer listed as unfilled positions,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “They are just gone.”
Among the positions cut are six kennel attendants in the now privatized animal shelter, a grants analyst in general services, a case manager in human services, a sanitation helper in public works, and a planner in land management.
Former Supervisor Linda Kabot’s first draft of the budget had 48 staffing cuts. The 2010 budget that was officially adopted by the Town Board in late November included 37 cuts, both civil services and non. The remaining 20 positions were either cut previously or will remain as unfilled for the time being, Ms. Throne-Holst said.
Curve Project Planned
The board announced Tuesday that it is seeking bidders to vie for a contract to realign Red Creek Road in Hampton Bays.
People who live on the road have blamed a sharp curve in it for numerous fatal car accidents.
Mr. Nuzzi said he did not know when the road would actually be realigned, but said that it is a priority for him and Highway Superintendent Alex Gregor.
The bids must be returned to the Town Hall by March 3 at 2 p.m.
The Town Board also approved the following contracts at its meeting Tuesday:
A one-year contract with ABT Design & Fire Prevention, Inc. in Center Moriches for fire prevention equipment. The cost of the contract will vary depending on which town department uses the services.
A one-year, $12,175 contract with ADL III Architecture in Westhampton Beach to complete a County Road 39 corridor land use plan.
A one-year, $21,500 contract with Bollam, Sheedy & Torani Co., LLP in Manhasset for an audit of the Community Preservation Fund.
A one-year, $6,982 contract with Cashin Associations in Hauppauge for work on the County Road 39 corridor land use plan and a one-year, $41,608 contract with Cashin for the town’s Hampton Bays hamlet study.
A one-year, $1,132 contract with Hampton Photo Arts, Inc. in Bridgehampton for photo supplies.