In the Southampton Town election this November, clean water will be the prime issue, and the Democratic town government, under Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, has done much about it already, and is doing much more.
Some might say that some other issue, such as taxes, will be No. 1, but water quality impacts more of our local concerns than anything else: Our health, because we must have pure drinking water; our environment, because water is its greatest component; our economy, because the appeal of this place for visitors and residents depends largely on the water; our recreation, because the water is where so much of it happens; and our investment in our homes, because clean, attractive water is crucial to property values.
So, what have the Democrats done about this, and what are they doing going forward? Well, they’re granting rebates of up to $20,000 to update home septic systems. Having obtained voter approval to use 20 percent of Community Preservation Fund money for water quality, they are initiating projects for stormwater drainage, wastewater treatment and aquatic habitat restoration.
The Town Council has established a center at Tiana Bay to educate people about the marine environment and the need to preserve it. In 2018, $3.5 million was approved for water quality projects, including $2.3 million for Westhampton Beach and additional funding for Mecox and Shinnecock bays and Sag Harbor. In 2019, $391,000 was awarded to clean up Lake Agawam and Mill Pond.
The Democrats are controlling development to guard both the aquifer beneath us and our bays, streams and wetlands from excessive nitrogen, algae and other harmful agents.
Are these things that the Republicans would have done if in office, or will do if elected now? I think not. The local GOP has always been very friendly to development — not a bad thing in itself, but development must be carefully guided in a fragile environment like ours. The Southampton Republican approach to development has been relaxed, to put it charitably, and their other trait has been a diminished awareness, if not total disregard, of the need to protect our waters. They just don’t cut it on this vital point.
For the sake of our water, I’m voting for Jay Schneiderman for supervisor, John Bouvier and Craig Catalanotto for Town Council, Gordon Herr for tax receiver, and Bill Pell, Ann Welker and Andy Brosnan for Town Trustee this year. Election Day is November 5.
George LynchQuiogueMr. Lynch is treasurer for the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.
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