FROM THE BRIDGEHAMPTON CITIZENS’ ADVISORY COMMITTEE
The June meeting of the Bridgehampton Citizens’ Advisory Committee was held on June 15 at 7:00PM at the Bridgehampton Bank meeting room. Besides members of the committee, Town Councilwoman, Nancy Graboski, was present. The meeting was mostly concerned with the looming financial problems that Bridgehampton, along with the rest of Southampton, will be facing because of the Southampton Town budget deficiencies that are slowly but surely coming home to roost. when she attended our May meeting, Supervisor Linda Kabot discussed the findings that have been uncovered, It is clear that the initial revelation of eight million dollars that was improperly retained in the Town General fund and then spent over the past few years is but one of three financial shortfalls that will impact the whole town. We can expect additional shortfalls this year of another eight to ten million dollars due to reduced revenues in spite of property appraisals that still reflect the prosperous economy of former years. In 2010, however, appraised property values will come way down, mirroring the decline of the economy. The result could be an additional budget hit of eight to ten million dollars. Thus the true reduction of revenue for the town could well exceed $20,000,000 by the end of next year.
The Town Board is starting to address this problem, but its steps thus far have been tentative. Wisely the Supervisor has formed a committee of business -experienced citizens to determine the level of financial exposure and to recommend steps to correct the shortfalls. Two members of the Bridgehampton CAC are on this committee The CAC commented on a revised application that is before the Planning Board concerning the property located on the northwest corner of the intersection of the Montauk Highway and the Sag Harbor Turnpike. This property has a number of business ventures that will be impacted by any development plan . The committee wondered whether the owner of the property would be willing to meet with members of the CAC to discuss the planned development of the property. This intersection is highly sensitive; it carries more traffic than any other crossing in the hamlet. The CAC is concerned about the potential impact from additional traffic congestion and parking required for the multiple businesses.
The CAC suggests that the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals make use of an extended town website to communicate with the citizenry and receive comments from the various CACs as well as from other community groups . It seems this method of civilized conversing would be have the benefit of lessening the number of what are often confrontational, time consuming public discussions at board meetings. CAC member Ron White introduced the need for a stop sign on Norris Lane to protect residents from accidents caused by cars that use this lane as a bypass to the Sag Turnpike. The CAC discussed this issue in the context of a whole list of similar locations that serve as bypasses in the hamlet. Ms. Graboski said that the process of placing stop signs is complex and time consuming. The CAC felt that the real issue is the need for much more police activity in directing traffic and enforcing existing traffic laws. Members felt that police activity is too much devoted to the minor problems associated with parking violations and sticker problems, which although useful in producing revenue for the town, divert police from adequately controlling the roadways. The CAC feels we need much more police presence on the roads of Bridgehampton to deter speeding cars and utility vehicles. and to stop the increasing number of dangerous moving violations in the hamlet.
The next meeting of the CAC will be at 7:00 PM Monday July 27 at the Bridgehampton National Bank meeting room. All who are interested in coming are warmly invited. We hold an open meeting and invite public comments and introduction of any issues that pertain to Bridgehampton.