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Jun 14, 2017 11:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Informational Meeting On East Quogue Parks District To Be Held Thursday

East Quogue residents Jamie Maloney and Brian Babcock are pushing to create a parks district in East Quogue. AMANDA BERNOCCO
Jun 14, 2017 11:37 AM

The Southampton Town Board will host an informational meeting regarding a potential special park taxing district in East Quogue on June 15 at 7 p.m. in the hamlet's elementary school on Central Avenue. Several area residents have pushed for the measure, prompting the meeting.

Brian Babcock and Jamie Maloney are calling for the town to create a special park district in their hometown that would allow East Quogue residents to tax themselves to help finance the routine maintenance of their Main Street, as well as pay for various beautification projects and future capital improvements, if needed. Similar park districts already exist in neighboring Hampton Bays, as well as east of the Shinnecock Canal in both Bridgehampton and Water Mill.

The park district is not intended to replace the Southampton Town Parks department—it would supplement it. Mr. Babcock explained that certain beautification fixes are a low priority to the town department, such as laying mulch around the trees in the East Quogue Village Green and planting flowers.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said the informational meeting was set up to allow East Quogue residents to hear the specifications of the project and ask questions before an eventual public hearing.

"It's up to the community," Mr. Schneiderman said. "They just need to make an informed decision."

He pointed out that the creation of tax districts is not unusual—it's the same process that is used to fund libraries, fire departments and school districts. Tax districts can also be created for an assortment of other projects such as beach nourishment and burying power lines, he said.

Mr. Babcock said he is looking forward to the town further discussing his plans with the community.

"There has been no negative feedback on this—none " said Mr. Babcock, a longtime FedEx driver whose job takes him through both East Quogue and Hampton Bays daily.

Mr. Babcock, who was elected to the East Quogue Board of Education last month, attended a recent Southampton Town Board work session with Ms. Maloney, where the pair pitched their idea to town officials and outlined the estimated impact the park district would have on taxes if it's ultimately approved.

Mr. Babcock estimates that the average hamlet homeowner, whose property is now assessed at $400,000, would be asked to contribute approximately $6.46 per year to help fund the East Quogue Park District. The district, he said, would seek to levy about $28,000 annually from those living within the boundaries of the East Quogue School District, and the actual rate would be based on individual house assessments, similar to how school taxes are calculated.

"This thing is going [to cost] less than a hamburger," Mr. Babcock said, referring to the cost per year that the average homeowner would contribute.

He urged all hamlet residents to attend next week's meeting to learn more about the proposal.

"When people hear the plans, people are going to be ecstatic about it," Mr. Babcock said.

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These bleeding heart Libs want yet more taxes for EQ? Really?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 14, 17 4:47 PM
What an ignorant statement! Can't spare a couple of bucks a year to make your town more appealing?
By dexter831 (6), dexter831 on Jun 15, 17 12:29 PM
Dexter - maybe take a look at EQ property & school taxes. They are already insanely high. The EQ parks are already maintained by SH Town. This new tax is just a bunch of snowflakes who want the residents to pay twice for something the Town already provides. Who's ignorant?
By G (342), Southampton on Jun 15, 17 2:53 PM
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