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Sep 14, 2011 11:56 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Schneiderman, Kelly Exchange Words At Flanders Meeting

Sep 14, 2011 1:17 PM

Suffolk County Legislator Jay Schneiderman and Cornelius Kelly, the East Quogue businessman who will try to unseat the incumbent lawmaker this November, met face to face on Monday night at a debate sponsored by the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association.

Mr. Schneiderman, a Montauk resident, and Mr. Kelly, who owns an insurance company in Westhampton Beach, were at odds while fielding questions from FRNCA President Vince Taldone about the status of a sewer district study for the area, development, and the prospect of removing the trailer in Riverside that is owned by the county and houses most of its homeless sex offenders. The trailer is located in the shadow of the Suffolk County Jail in Riverside.

Mr. Schneiderman, who is running on the Independence Party line, answered questions from an audience that has been critical of him following years of waiting for the completion of a county study that will determine if a sewer district is warranted and can be supported by the area. He reiterated that a supermarket—and other larger businesses—cannot open in the tri-hamlet area until a sewer district is created.

Mr. Schneiderman also told audience members that he does not know when the study, for which $250,000 was allocated by the County Legislature in June 2010 and was started earlier this year, will be completed. The installation of a sewer district is critically important to the existing LI40 development park in Riverside, which has failed to attract large chain stores. Riverhead Town, which is located just across the Peconic River, has such a system in place.

Mr. Kelly, the owner of Liberty Property Services in Westhampton Beach and the Republican candidate, was critical of the amount of time it has taken the county to complete its study. He added that Mr. Schneiderman, who has been in office for almost eight years, has had more than enough time to propose and follow up on the study.

While Mr. Kelly pledged on Monday night to bring the sewer district study to a quick conclusion and to move forward with a plan, Mr. Schneiderman argued that his opponent—who had suggested earlier in the evening that the area could tap into a sewage treatment system at the Suffolk County Jail, which actually does not have a treatment plant—does not have a clear understanding of the issue and no background in the type of work. Mr. Kelly countered that Mr. Schneiderman waited too long to find a contractor who could do the work, another factor that has delayed the study’s completion.

Mr. Kelly also said that Mr. Schneiderman has failed his constituents because the county-owned trailer in Riverside, which houses almost all of Suffolk’s homeless sex offenders, still has not been relocated or closed for good.

“I put my kids to sleep 4 miles from here,” Mr. Kelly said, pointing at the ground of the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders. “I will not stop until they are gone.”

Mr. Kelly also ripped apart the legislature’s previous plan to rotate the trailers—a plan that was never followed through on—saying that other towns would have blocked those attempts. “I have a vested interest in solving this problem,” said Mr. Kelly, who has three children.

Mr. Schneiderman pointed out that his opponent has provided no evidence showing that he has taken any action to move the trailers. In contrast, the legislator said he has tried many times to have the Riverside trailer, as well as a smaller one located near the Suffolk County Police shooting range in Westhampton, closed or relocated, but those attempts have been blocked by the County Legislature or County Executive Steve Levy. Mr. Schneiderman said that he would personally sue the county to remove the trailers if they are not moved soon.

Tax equalization rates, and how they apply to those living in Southampton Town though they send their children to the Riverhead School District, was also discussed on Monday night. Flanders, Riverside and Northampton residents have complained that they have been forced to absorb unfair tax increases due to different assessment policies in Southampton and Riverhead towns. Riverhead Town has not reassessed its properties for years, while Southampton Town was, at one point, doing it every year.

Mr. Kelly argued that reassessments should continue to take place every year in Southampton Town to reflect the declining value of homes in Riverside, Flanders and Northampton. He said that proponents of ending regular reassessments are only hurting their community.

“There’s a disparity between Southampton and those paying taxes in Riverhead,” Mr. Kelly said. “If elected, I would advocate with the legislature to help the residents here.”

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This article failed to mention that Legislator Schneiderman also has two children who are in the Southampton School District and has passed legislation to put an end to the sex offender trailers, as well as overriding the County Executive's veto of that legislation.
By nflott01 (1), cutchogue on Sep 14, 11 12:45 PM
1 member liked this comment
Well, if Legislator Schneiderman failed to mention that fact at the meeting -- I was there and he didn't -- what do you expect the reporter to do?

By Frank Wheeler (1826), Northampton on Sep 14, 11 2:47 PM
1 member liked this comment
It's called research.
By TheWaterMillian (34), Water Mill on Sep 14, 11 4:01 PM
1 member liked this comment
Research will also tell you his hat and show size but the article didn't mention that either. It's up to the candidate to identify his "strengths" not the reporter.
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Sep 15, 11 10:46 AM
TYPO: should read "shoe size"
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Sep 15, 11 1:55 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Sep 15, 11 1:55 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By Tennyson (77), Quogue on Sep 15, 11 1:55 PM
Kelly came off as a nothing candidate. Schneiderman knows the issues and is an honest, hardworking guy who doesn't play politics.
By goldenrod (505), southampton on Sep 14, 11 11:30 PM
I know this sounds rather old fashioned as I am, but Mr. Kelly, would it have hurt to have worn a jacket and tie, and shaved?
By CommonSense (71), Southampton on Sep 16, 11 10:35 AM
Does Mr. Kelly have a first name? Is this Gus Kelly-local judge?
By EastEnd68 (888), Westhampton on Sep 16, 11 11:30 AM