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Nov 17, 2010 11:34 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Town Board's Majority Remains Mum On Budget Changes

Nov 17, 2010 11:34 AM

Auditors Analyze Park Fees

Southampton Town’s park reserve fees and Planned Development District funds were the subject of a review last week by the town’s auditors, and preliminary indications are that even more money than originally thought has been misplaced.

Auditors with Nawrocki Smith, LLP, offered the preliminary findings of their work at a Town Board work session and recommended that money in some PDD accounts be redirected to different reserves to more appropriately fit their dedicated use. They said out of the 19 PDD projects within the town, four involve the actual collection of funds. Two of the four involve cash funds that were combined with money in park reserve accounts and should be separated, the auditors said.

They also addressed accounting errors in park reserve fees, a topic that Ms. Wright addressed before the board about two weeks ago, when she announced that nearly $1.5 million in park fees were wrongly placed in an account called “Planning Board fees” within the Land Management Enterprise Fund. The number has since grown after further analysis and now stands at about $1.9 million, according to the town auditors.

An official report from the auditors is expected to be released within the next week or two.

SEA-TV Funding

Confusing legislation could be the excuse that Southampton Town uses not to have to shell out $140,000 to fund its education and government channel, Sea-TV, town officials said this week.

The issue was raised more than a month ago when Mr. Blowes said that resolutions and town law dictate that the municipality owes money to a SEA-TV reserve account.

But this week Ms. Throne-Holst said she does not believe the channel is owed the money because the legislation is unclear. The $140,000 figure is dictated by two things: a 2005 town law that governs the distribution of channel revenues, and resolutions enacted prior to 2005 that attempt to allocate money to a reserve account for the channel.

What’s in question with the law is exactly how much funding SEA-TV should have been receiving from the town since 2005, and how much should have been placed in the reserve account, according to the supervisor.

The issue was scrutinized by Town Attorney Michael Sordi shortly after it was first raised. Mr. Sordi said that, in his legal opinion, the law and resolutions were too ambiguous to make a determination. He recommended that the Town Board amend it.

In both instances, Mr. Sordi recommended that the board amend the legislation and either clarify its language or rescind the resolutions. Ms. Throne-Holst said she plans to introduce a notice for a public hearing on Friday to eventually amend the town law.

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For the sake of efficiency, rationality and frugality Ms. Throne-Holst introduced a "sushine" proposition that will require the STPD to justify its operations, staffing and payroll costs.

[Oh, wait. That was a dream.]
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 18, 10 10:08 AM

Do you voice this opinion to ATH in letters? Do you go to Town Board Meetings and state your case? Have you written other elected officials in the Town, County and State to express your concern over the "overpaid" STPD? I'm not suggesting you aren't, I'm asking a legitimate question.

Your rhetoric is getting unbelievably tiring and I would imagine if you have such a good case, and you are voicing your opinion through every possibly channel - that something would change. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 18, 10 1:09 PM
to Nature:

I think that I have chosen a fairly distinctive avatar. If so, it should be easy as pie for you and others who share your opinion simply to skip anything that I write when they see the avatar in front of it.

As for your questions, I have taken no steps that might reveal my true identity to the STPD. Reiterating the deplorable behavior and eye-popping pay of the STPD in these comments is one way of alerting Southampton residents to their fleecing by the STPD and to ...more
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 18, 10 3:27 PM
Sorry to report, Vince, that you are not the sleuth that you make yourself out to be. All those letters after your name doesn't equate to intelligence.
By Terry (380), Southampton on Nov 18, 10 3:38 PM
HH, if Terry knows who you are, you're doing an awful job of remaining annonymous to those evil police who are out to get the residents of the town, being as Terry is retired STPD
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 18, 10 3:51 PM
I thought Terry was retired from the Suffolk County Sheriff's Dept and also involved with the conservative party.
By reg rep (408), Southampton on Nov 18, 10 10:57 PM
STPD. Former Convservation Board Member and his family works in other capacities for the Town.
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 9:12 AM
All highhat has accomplished by making police pay public is to show the public that we are being fairly paid for the job and service we provide. Not one officer has had to take a cut in pay and not one job has been eliminated. Bottom line is that the public appreciates the job the police do and have no problem paying fair wages.
Nov 18, 10 4:59 PM appended by EastEnd68
disregard the "we'
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 18, 10 4:59 PM
please disregard last comment-did not been to imply that I am with the SHTP-just a supporter of them. The "we" should not be in the comment
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Nov 18, 10 5:59 PM
Wink wink, we understand..Its all good
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 12:46 AM
Wink wink, we understand..Its all good
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 12:46 AM
Respectfully, if YOU know the salaries of the STPD, please post them. All that the rest of us know is their ante-overtime salaries which are, compared to their ACTUAL salaries, as a Chihuahua to a Labrador.
By highhatsize (4217), East Quogue on Nov 18, 10 6:40 PM
go to seethroughny.org
By sirpoochala (78), Hampton Bays on Dec 2, 10 6:37 PM
I also follow HH's comments. I find them educational about something I know nothing about. I know he has complained about officers that should be retired that are still on the payroll at a high cost to the taxpayers and the power of the police union over the town government. I don't recall his criticizing the officers. In general his comments seem to be directed at management. At least that's my impression.
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 12:52 AM
Now back to this budget...I'm shocked that the town is trying to tax again. Maybe I should not be. They are looking to cut their operating expenses and that is good, but taxing at these difficult times is unconscionable. The economy is a mire even in Hamptons land. Everyone's properties are well worth bellow what they were we know intuitively. The tax they are levying are not based on the actual values of our properties.

In light of the fact that to cover their deficits and restructure ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 1:57 AM
"taxing at these difficult times is unconscionable"

Taxes are proposed to increase by 2.4%. That amounts to what, $50/house on average? I don't understand why the general public gets so upset when the local town raises taxes for services it provides that amount to a few hundred dollars a year, when every year residents vote in droves to approve increased spending by the schools. That is where your taxes are going - and EVERY year people vote for them. I'm not saying I enjoy paying taxes ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 9:17 AM
1 member liked this comment
Yes,raising taxes during these difficult times based on the inflated prices of the last assessment is unconscionable. I hear and agree with what you say about school taxes. Unfortunately, as you say, the residents keep voting for the budgets. You and I are in the minority. I would advocate a school tax system whereby on a means basis parents of children in school would pay tuition. Those that use the schools should be more financially responsible for financing and oversight of the system. People ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 10:32 AM
Keep in mind that the better the school district - the more value a property has. So, paying school taxes does benefit those who do not have children within the school district. What is interesting is when you start to look at other school districts like Sag Harbor, Sagaponack, East Hampton etc. that take in students from other districts through open enrollment. There is likely a way to "game" the system where the tax burdern could be reduced across the board but you must be careful doing this. ...more
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Nov 19, 10 12:07 PM
I agree having a good school district adds value to the property. I was not looking so much at having open enrollment from other districts but within the SH district having parents of students have a greater stake and burden in the system that they actually are paying a bit more "out of pocket".

As part of a broader argument when people point to various services, like leaf pick up, as a luxury. Well one person's luxury is another's necessity. I use less of one and desire more of the ...more
By V.Tomanoku (790), southampton on Nov 19, 10 3:53 PM
God forbid the Republican-Conservative majority of Nuzzi, Graboski and Malone should share their proposed budget amendments with the public. The people might learn something about their plans to trash ATH's budget.
By Turkey Bridge (1979), Quiogue on Nov 21, 10 11:35 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Wired (1), Brookhaven on Nov 27, 10 9:11 AM