Unanswered QuestionsNext week, East Quogue voters will confront the question of whether or not they should formally secede from the Town of Southampton and form a village. We urge every eligible voter to participate in this important vote, as the consequences will be long-lasting and difficult to undue.
We oppose this effort, as we do not believe the further fragmentation of Southampton into smaller and smaller fiefdoms, with increasingly narrow scopes of interest, can ever serve the broadest concerns of local residents, our local environment, or the town as a whole.
Whether folks agree with our position or not, we hope every voter will consider the following questions before casting their ballots:
1. What new zoning code amendments might a new Village Board pursue. Who will control this agenda, and what will be the consequences for the future of East Quogue?
2. What is the cost of hiring a village attorney to oversee all the legal responsibilities associated with running the village, including development of local ordinances, enforcement, intermunicipal agreements, writing land use board decisions, contracts, lawsuits, etc.?
3. Who will serve as the village’s building inspector and at what cost, who will handle code enforcement and at what cost, and how will the village find qualified candidates with the time to serve responsibly on planning and zoning boards given the village’s limited population?
4. What control will village residents have over the Village Board’s capacity to hire whatever staff or consulting expertise it wishes without consent of the voters, and how will these costs be contained?
5. Since developers have increasingly shown a willingness to try and litigate their way to an approval (as Discovery Land did when it sued the Southampton Town Board for $100 million in damages and sued some of the Town Board personally for not getting what it wanted in East Quogue), how will the village defend against such potential litigation and what would be the cost to village residents of losing a major lawsuit?
6. The operation of any municipal government requires some investment in capital — whether it’s buildings, equipment, vehicles, office furnishings etc. Where is the capital budget for the new village — if it doesn’t exist, who will prepare it — and what will it cost?
7. What safeguards will be in place to assure that there are no conflicts of interest between village officials and powerful development interests that seek influence within the village?
These are just some of the most obvious questions and issues that will face a new village government and every voter should know the answers before they vote.
We look forward to the outcome.
Robert S. DeLucaPresident
Group for the East End
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