TOWN BOARD UPDATES
•At the end of 2013, the CPF Advisory Board under the leadership of Scott Wilson, the Director of Land Acquisitions and Management, evaluated where the CPF monies could do the most good. Meeting with the Planning and Natural Resources Departments it was decided that the health of the waters was the most pressing issue and that while many of our bodies of water were at risk, Lake Montauk the most endangered. They agreed to purchase as much of the vacant land in the Lake Montauk’s watershed as possible. Once the information was presented to the current Town Board, they agreed. Property owners were then approached and a resounding 40 per cent agreed in a no obligation situation. They would sell only if the Town’s offer was to their liking. These lands are presently in negotiation with offers either outstanding or accepted, or in contract.
•In the six and a half months the Town Board has been in office, it has purchased 48.33 acres of open space at a cost of $15,854 million. The careful and complicated process is headed by Scott Wilson who presents to the Board properties that suit the specifications of the CPF law. The Board must then decide to accept or reject his recommendations. Presently, there are 21 additional properties in contract, which will add another 67.7 acres costing $18.7 million. Another 16 other properties are in the process of Board resolutions town and/or accepted offers of some 19.83 costing $15.3 million. Quite an accomplishment!
•The Town Board’s Committee on Energy & Sustainability, with its liaison Sylvia Overby, have urged the town to seek viable clean renewable energy in the form of solar and wind power to supply the electrical needs of East Hampton by 2020. Presently the Town is exploring places to set up solar panels.
•There is a ban on alcohol consumption on Indian Wells Beach on the weekends during lifeguard hours.
•Waste Plant Closing: In another unanimous vote of the Town Board, the Scav Waste Plant, as it is popularly known will close it preverbal doors forever. While the plant was the center of much controversy in the last administration, consultant Pio Lombardo’s assessment of the operation in his study of waste water is that the plant is costly and of no significant value to the town. It is estimated that the town will be saving $800,000 yearly over time when it closes.
•Indian Wells Updates: Councilwoman Sylvia Overby reported there are new restrooms which include two new showers. The parking lot has been reconfigured and a new booth has been set up at the entrance to the parking lot.
•The Budget and Finance Committee Chairman Arthur Malman reported that the Airport Finance Subcommittee’s analysis indicates that the East Hampton Airport has the capacity to be self sustaining and will be able to support their operations with some adjustments. This would include any capital operations and improvement, indicating that FAA funds need not be accepted and grant assurances can run out. In the months since Councilwoman Kathee Burke Gonzalez headed the Airport Committee, she has succeeded in bringing strong opposing factions together to work, in an amicable fashion, to solve some of the problems that have plagued the airport, previously causing intense distrust and animosity. When the FAA Grant Assurances run out at the end of this year, 2014, and are not renewed, the town of East Hampton will have more control of the operation of the airport.
•The Town’s website will now include a code enforcement form that can be filled out on line and submitted in that manner.This will enable people to report violations they see in their neighborhoods promptly and conveniently.
•A new Taxi law has been passed, which will provide safety to those who use them, as well as protection for those who are legitimate taxi companies operating in East Hampton.
DEMS ON THE JOB
The Litter Committee of East Hampton, headed by Deb Klughers, is asking residents to fill out an on line survey assessing their attitudes toward plastic bags. The village presently bans plastic bags. The Committee hopes to promote the same kind of ban in the town.
ABOUT TIM BISHOP
Ryan Dickenson, an army veteran, was murdered at Ft. Hood. Mr. Dickenson was suffering from PTSD and was in the process of upgrading his disability from 70% to 100% . The policy was cancelled and his widow and two young children would get nothing. Representative Bishop interceded and was able to secure $400,000, which was put into a trust for the children. Representative Bishop has always responded to the needs of veterans.
Bishop Stands up for Women’s Rights and voiced his objection to the recent Supreme Court decision allowing a privately owned company to prevent a woman’s access to certain types of contraceptives under the Affordable Care Act because it is contrary to the corporate owners’ religious beliefs. The now infamous Holly Lobby case is seen by Representative Bishop as having the potential for being more far reaching and troublesome as some people, for example, are against blood transfusions on religious grounds. “It’s a slippery slope fraught with perhaps unintended consequences,” Bishop noted.
At the regular August meeting of the Democratic Committee, Representative Tim Bishop addressed some of the pressing issues facing East Hampton. Bishop talked about the struggle to find the money to bury the poles erected by PSEG. He told the committee that 700 million dollars has been allocated by the Federal government to LIPA for infrastructure hardening as a result of Sandy. Burying the lines would only cost only a small portion of that sum. Since this is essentially a state issue, he has been working with Assemblyman Thiele to try and obtain those monies to “bury the lines.” He then discussed the situation with the airport and the Army Corp of Engineers plans for the shores of Montauk. Bishop opened the floor to committee members for any questions. They responded by asking many questions about various national issues, including the frustration of working with the present climate in Congress. We talked about his campaign plans for his re-election and how we can best help him to achieve that goal.
Representative Tim Bishop recently met with groups at the Teacher’s Federal Credit Union to discuss the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) to remind them of the device which is available to people earning less than $51,567 per annum and is unused because people are not aware of them.
Bishop Leads a Coalition of Leaders! In a letter sent to LIPA/PSEG, Representative Tim Bishop and a host of local leaders including Supervisor Larry Cantwell, Assemblymen Fred Thiele, Senator Ken LaValle, and Mayor Rickenbacker, urged the utility to find the funds to bury the lines. LIPA/PSEG has requested funds from FEMA for the purpose of burying the 6.2 miles of line in East Hampton. “Power lines buried underground are more resilient,” said Congressman Bishop. The funds requested could be as much as one billion dollars.
Congressman Bishop has submitted a proposal to the members of the House of Representatives that would protect our military technology and intellectual properties. While the amendment was not accepted, the Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence acknowledged the importance of the proposal and will work with Rep. Bishop on curbing hacking.
Representative Tim Bishop is up for re-election again. Every two years, according to the US Constitution, a representative to the Congress must stand for re-election. This year it is Bishop’s turn. So the local Democratic committee people of District One in NYS must go out gather signatures of registered Democrats only. With clipboards in hand bearing the familiar green petitions, each East Hampton committee person was required to gather 20 signatures on their petition from their own district. That might sound like an easy task, but not in February and early March of this year when snowbirds had not yet returned. Many a committeemen found themselves scouring their districts to find Democrats in residence. Perseverance paid off as Bishop, a local Southampton boy, will be our candidate, freeing him to work on issues of great importance to locals like Montauk beaches, coastal erosion in general, the plight of our veterans, managing Long Island power dilemma and the Affordable Care Act, to name just a few.