Invitations to the Hampton Bays Civic Association meeting this week announce that the association has established several committees to discover the community’s need for action in areas such as sewers, density, code enforcement, downtown Hampton Bays rezoning and revitalization. I support this wholeheartedly, and I feel that this is a good first step toward a self-governing community.
I would like to suggest an additional committee that would discover the finances that link the Town of Southampton to the community of Hampton Bays.
Let me take a step back for explanation. We have heard from our congressional representatives that New York State is a “donor state.” It means that New York pays in more tax revenue to the federal government than it receives back. Other states are considered “acceptor states,” meaning that they receive more tax revenue from Uncle Sam than they pay in.
Using that analogy, I believe that Hampton Bays is a “donor community” to the Town of Southampton. I think we pay more taxes to the town than we get back in such things as highway maintenance and police services.
I suspected this when I saw that most of the real estate on Dune Road is within five incorporated villages. From west to east, West Hampton Dunes, Westhampton Beach, Quogue, Southampton Village and Sagaponack all have extraordinarily high-value properties, and none of the property tax revenue from those properties goes to the Town of Southampton. Add the two villages of North Haven and Sag Harbor, which boast ultra-high properties on the shores of Peconic Bay, and you have one cash-poor town not getting any “big nuggets” of property taxes.
Hampton Bays has become the cash cow of the Town of Southampton. It’s the largest unincorporated community left with sufficient waterfront “nuggets” to make it a donor community. If true, the knee-jerk argument against forming a village — i.e., because it would raise taxes — collapses. We would not “shoot our eye out” economically if we formed a village.
Further study is required to prove this theory, but the facts as mentioned show that a full and impartial study is truly worth the effort.
Since 1975, there have been two town supervisors from Hampton Bays, Martin Lang and Vincent Cannuscio. As much as they wanted to serve their home community, they were both obligated to serve the rest of the town as well.
If Hampton Bays represents 20 percent of the town then the Town Board members, including the supervisor, can only allocate 20 percent of their time, or one day in every five, to Hampton Bays.
I think we need more.
Bruce C. Doscher
One fine body…