This article [“Without Federal Aid And An Accurate Census, The Situation Is ‘Dire’ In Southampton Town, Supervisor Says,” 27east.com, September 21] entirely fails in making a coherent argument of any kind.
Jay Schneiderman asserts without actual evidence that there has been a sudden increase in year-round residents, and an alarming increase in domestic violence and calls to police. Nationwide, the social and economic disruption caused by the pandemic caused an uptick in domestic violence. People caged up at home with looming financial problems or just boredom lead directly to this.
Property crimes also increase during financial disruptions. The pandemic, not population increase, thus leads to an increase in calls to police. No breakdown was given on how many of those calls resulted in any action.
Permit fees from building projects are down, as are fees from the Justice Court. The decrease in Justice Court fees contradicts the notion that the police are overburdened. Fewer bars and restaurants open no doubt means fewer DWIs and traffic offenses.
I would like to thank Mr. Schneiderman for confirming a long-held suspicion: The building permit system, which should be nothing more than a public service, is viewed as a significant source of revenue for the town. The bias introduced by that approach should give citizens pause for thought. A decrease in applications does not argue for an increase in population.
Finally, census numbers show a significant drop in year-round residents. This is entirely plausible, given the price of real estate, onerous taxes, and lack of any economic foundation beyond tourism. I have met frustrated census-takers asking, do I know homeowners where no one is home on multiple visits? What do the town tax rolls say? How many bills are sent out of town? How many houses are not really second residences but exist solely for rental income — owned by LLCs and real estate agents?
Traffic in the grocery store has dropped off. The streets are quiet. Homes on the beach are empty.
Shrink budgets and services to match actual — not imaged — needs.
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One fine body…