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Apr 10, 2013 11:14 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Fines, Penalties For Rental Violations Could Increase In Southampton Town

Apr 11, 2013 7:16 AM

The Southampton Town Board and town attorneys office have introduced a proposal to significantly stiffen the penalties for repeat offenders of town housing codes—the town’s rental permit law in particular—in hopes of curtailing recurring issues with overcrowded occupancy and un-permitted rentals at residences year after year.

“We’re trying to tighten up our ability to clamp down on repeat offenders that are in violation of our rental laws,” Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said at a work session with Town Board members on Thursday, April 4. “It’s a matter of public safety, it’s matter of quality of life. It can be very frustrating at times.”

Town attorneys who are still drafting the legislation said they are looking at a package of increases in monetary penalties and enforcement authority but are trying to craft a bill that will not have unintended impacts on those homeowners who may run afoul of the letter of the law but are not chronic offenders.

Details of the new bill were not discussed, though attorneys did note that they are considering fines as high as $8,000 for repeat offenses. Ms. Throne-Holst said the town needs fines that are “a little more onerous.”

Town Searching For Grant Writer

After eliminating the job of the town’s in-house grant writer in the 2013 budget, the Town Board began interviewing candidates for a contracted consultant to do grant writing for the town.

“We made some changes and restructured our grant writing office in the new year, but we wanted to make sure that we didn’t ... drop our grant writing,” Ms. Throne-Holst said. “One of the things we talked about was going outside rather than having someone on staff.”

On Thursday the board interviewed Jennifer Mesiano Higham. Ms. Higham said she has been doing grant writing for 12 years, including as a grant writer for Riverhead Town, and has worked with Southampton and Sag Harbor villages as a consultant.

Last fall, the board cut the grant writer position from the budget in an 11th-hour round of budget amendments that allowed for the hiring of two new police officers and saved the jobs of two traffic control officers. Board members said that grant activity had slowed considerably in the years since the recession of 2009. Grants Coordinator Karen Johnson had earned a salary of about $75,000 per year, plus benefits.

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It's about time.
By AFB (31), NYC/SH on Apr 12, 13 9:59 AM
They let a town employee go! Now they are going to hire someone who is already working! What a way to help with the unemployment rate in Southampton!
By left eq (28), Southampton on Apr 12, 13 6:48 PM
I'm very happy that Anna is finally stepping up and doing something positive for the town. This should have been done years ago though when the problem was just starting, enforcing the law from the beginning. As seen in the documentary film THEY COME TO AMERICA 2 there is a county in Maryland that has extremely tough housing laws that are highly enforced from the beginning. It's time to step up and turn Southampton town in the right direction. Instead of downhill where it's going.
By unjustifiedjustice2 (35), East Quogue on Apr 29, 13 9:02 PM