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May 20, 2014 5:31 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

East Hampton Town Report Says Airport Can Survive Without FAA Funds

May 20, 2014 5:53 PM

East Hampton Airport could be sustainable without Federal Aviation Administration funds, according to a new report by the town’s Budget and Financial Advisory Committee.

The subcommittee presented its report at Tuesday’s Town Board work session, saying that with “readily achievable” revenue growth, but without FAA funds or taking advantage of possible new revenue streams, the town could still have enough cash flow from the airport’s operations and properties to pay off debts and finance capital expenses.

According to Arthur Malman, the chair of the town’s budget and finance advisory committee, the Town Board tasked his group with doing a financial analysis of the airport.

“We were trying to develop financial data for the airport that could be relied upon by all sides,” he said.

The committee looked at four scenarios, from keeping the status quo to a drop in traffic at the airport. Through each scenario, committee members counted on several factors like the continual increase of helicopter and jet traffic, the increase of landing fees and rent each year, the increase of employee benefits and salaries and the cost of fuel. The town would have sufficient debt capacity to issue millions in bonds over the next five years.

Mr. Malman said the committee will continue to study the airport and come up with a “menu” of ways to bring in more revenue.

Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said knowing the airport doesn’t need to rely on FAA funds presents a certain freedom.

“Some people have come to the conclusion if we don’t take FAA money the airport would fall apart,” he said. “The report shows that’s not the case here. We can finance the airport, keep it safe and make improvements necessary for some period of time without taking FAA money. This only leaves our options open.”

Pilot Plan On Booze Ban Coming?

After months of discussion, the town board is finally considering holding a public hearing on a ban on alcohol at Indian Wells Beach and Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett.

In response to a resolution from the East Hampton Town Trustees that recommends limiting alcohol within 500 feet of the road end, the board decided to air the idea at its next public meeting.

Mr. Cantwell said, however, the limit discussed should be at 1,500 feet—a compromise between what the Trustees say and the recommendation of Town Police Chief Michael Sarlo. Chief Sarlo said 2,500 feet would be more sufficient, according to Town Councilwoman Sylvia Overby.

The ban would be in effect only during lifeguarded hours.

Chief Sarlo said the law should create an enforcement area separate from the bathing area and both beaches should be considered because the crowds could easily move from one to the other.

Mr. Cantwell said depending on the timing, it’s not likely the town will get something in place for this summer.

File Complaints Online

Now East Hampton Town residents can file code enforcement complaints online.

Mr. Cantwell announced on Tuesday morning that there is a new online form that residents can fill out and submit instead of calling Town Police.

The new process can be used to report overcrowding, illegal summer rentals, operating businesses in residential zones, construction without building permits, illegal dumping, illegal signs, litter and debris. Noise complaints should still be directed to the police department, however.

Once the form is submitted the sender will receive a written confirmation that it went through and town officers will investigate the complaint and follow up with the complainants.

Hampton Hopper Ahead

A new, and unusual, “social club” called the Hampton Hopper is starting up this summer.

Owner Derek Kleinow, a Hamptons native, said at Tuesday’s meeting that his club will offer rides in overhauled school buses to all the hot spots and commercial centers in East Hampton. He hopes to expand the service in coming years to the entirety of the South Fork, and eventually to the North Fork for those who take wine-tasting trips.

Mr. Cantwell took issue with the idea that Hamptons Hopper is a “social club” and not a taxi or bus service, and suggested Mr. Kleinow make sure he gets the correct approvals.

Mr. Kleinow maintained that it is a social club, where people meet each other and sign up for memberships. Those who have memberships get on for free wherever and whenever they want. Those who jump on the bus with no membership must purchase a daily membership for $20.

“I’m not sure you’d fall outside of transportation in the vehicles for hire law,” said Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc. “That’s something that should be investigated. It would be a great idea if you can reduce the number of cars in summer. It’s a goal everyone would applaud as long as you’re not creating other problems in the process.”

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