BRIDGEHAMPTON CAC MEETING HELD ON JANUARY 25, 2010

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The meeting was called to order at 7:00 PM

Those present were    Richard Bruce, Fred Cammann,, Michael Kapon, Steve Long, Ian MacPherson, ,  Cathie Gandel, Helene Mahoney, Christine Smith, Tony Lambert, Alejandro Saralegui, Jeffrey Vogel.

The CAC welcomed Councilwoman Nancy Graboski and Town Board Candidate William Hughes.

Bill Hughes  discussed his lengthy service to the country in the armed forces and his public record. He has been a member of the Southampton Police Department since 1981, retiring now as Lieutenant and Commanding Officer of the Patrol Division.

Discussion concerning the status of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee to the Town Board.

The Committee was formed  about mid 2009 at the request of then Supervisor , Linda Kabot. It consists of 16 members, including members of the administration and outside representatives of the  community at large, who offer their  banking and other financial experience. These outside  members serve at no cost to the public. Their mission, as assigned by the supervisor , is to obtain data from the concerned Southampton Administration  Departments  that will aid in formulating financial policy for the town in two areas; first the administration wishes to ascertain the fiscal results of past financial activities that led to a large shortfall in the capital budget allocations, and second, the administration wishes to address the shortfall itself. Along with the transition problems caused by  a change of administrations, the data appears not to have   been totally  available, although efforts are continually  being made to rectify this failure of communication.

A main problem lies in the way the data is accounted for in town financial  programs. In a nutshell, Southampton Town and other NYS  government financial reporting protocols differ in their  format from  normal financial reporting by  most non-government sponsored businesses. Therefore it has proven hard for the Town Comptroller or any of the concerned departments to furnish the necessary data from which  paths out of this financial morass  can be formulated. The Bridgehampton CAC and its Budget and Finance Advisory Committee representatives, Jeffrey Vogel and Ian MacPherson,  support Ms. Graboski in her efforts to continue the tenure of the committee. They, however,  requested that the responses for town generated financial data necessary for the effectiveness of the Budget and Finance Advisory Committee be more forthcoming. In addition both representatives asked that the meetings of the committee be more directed and follow specific agendas. We  feel improvements in these  areas will make the Advisory Committee far more effective in its mission to advise the Town Board about  practical fiscal steps they might consider to alleviate the crucial financial problems facing Southampton Town.

Communication between the Town Departments and the communities they serve.

As part of the discussion about the mission of the Budget and Finance Committee CAC members  voiced their concern about the  effectiveness of communications between Town Departments and the CACs. The questions arose when we learned that the  discussions within the Budget and Finance committee were formerly meant to be kept confidential. It is a sensitive condition because the issues concern our pocketbooks and so we really would like to hear about the deliberations and at times offer our comments.

The value of CAC comments seems to us to be worth more than a cursory acknowledgement, since the members of each CAC suffer by or enjoy the effects of any change of ordinance  or change of property use application  within their hamlet.. The issue of mutual communication between Town Departments and the concerned CACs  on issues  that concern our communities is  limited. It is certainly true that often a member of the Town Board or an appropriate  member of the administration comes to our meetings and we discuss our concerns in a positive fashion. Our CAC still thinks there is work to be done in this area.  If at first creation the CAC model was tentative , it really has become an important and positive channel for the unincorporated hamlets to work with their overburdened elected and appointed officials

In most cases  applications come before the CAC and are  discussed  within our meetings at some length and are researched by members of the CAC.. Often the applicants, at their request or our invitation,  appear in person or through their legal/contractors/architect representatives. If there are opposing views  within the hamlet community, the CACs welcome their presentations as well. After discussions are completed, the CACs vote on resolutions, write letters to the  responsible boards, often attend and participate in public sessions that concern the  applications. In many cases  CACs feel that the response back from the concerned Departments and Boards is  lacking until results may or may not be published in the press. At any rate the to and fro flow of information after the submission of opinions by the CACs seems to stop more often than not., and the resulting action kind of just happens. A broad statement usually goes out, saying the decision making department has “taken into consideration the  submissions of concerned parties to the matter.”  . That type of response doesn’t encourage members of the CACs to concentrate on the next application which might impact its hamlet

Potential Sites for a Community Toddlers’ Playground  ( we invite comments)

As discussed in the December 27, 2009 CAC   meeting, the town has available funds for the construction of a playground. The quandary appears to be its site. The CAC reiterated  its hope that the Children’s Museum of the East End be selected. Steve Long, the director of the Museum  offered to conduct an informal poll of Bridgehampton parents through the Museum’s listings to be sure that this site would be acceptable .to most of the users. He also said that the Museum board wished to work with the Town to come up with and arrangement that would make the site agreeable to the town

Food Banks to address possible hunger issues in Bridgehampton and in the rest of  Southampton Town.

In recent meetings the CAC has questioned whether persons who come to or reside within the boundaries of  the hamlet and within Southampton Town are aided in relief from hunger. . Mr. and Mrs. McPherson reported on the church-wide program in Bridgehampton.. . The food pantry is located within St. Ann’s Episcopal Church property. It serves about 200 residents of Bridgehampton and is tended by members of the  congregations of  local churches .The pantry has sufficient  funds to continue its work through the remaining months of the winter and spring. Work still needs to be done in the greater Southampton community. As yet we do not know if the town can or will take some responsibility  in addressing whether the Southampton Town Administration  should have a program to provide adequate food for those who need it and either reside in or have other connections with Southampton. Is this an issue that should be treated in a haphazard manner, or could an organized, consolidated leadership be found  among the NGO and not for profit groups within Southampton Town.?

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  1. Comment by Jeffrey Vogel — February 5, 2010 @ 3:19 pm

    I hope that families with children will weight in on the new playground in the hamlet

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