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Nov 24, 2008 4:37 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Around Southampton Town Hall

Nov 24, 2008 4:37 PM

As part of streamlining its 2009 budget, the Southampton Town Board eliminated three positions and reduced a number of expenditures from the town’s animal shelter and adoption center in Hampton Bays, resulting in an initial savings to taxpayers of $120,979.

Town Councilwoman Anna Throne-Holst, the sponsor of the budget amendment and liaison to the shelter, said the measures were taken not only to save money but to better manage the facility.

At a special meeting on Thursday, November 20, to adopt the town’s budget, the board also adopted Ms. Throne-Holst’s amendment laying off and eliminating a part-time animal trainer position at an annual cost of $12,610, a kennel attendant at $32,768, and a veterinary technician at $44,927, a savings of $90,305 in total. Additionally, the town reduced hospitalization, dental and optical insurance costs, a FICA tax expenditure, workers compensation expenses, and contingent fees by $30,674.

Because the animal shelter’s annual cost to the town is more than $1 million, Ms. Throne-Holst said it was important to “re-look at the shelter to make it run more efficiently without sacrificing the great care provided to the animals.”

The councilwoman said she wants the shelter to move toward becoming a self-supporting, revenue-generating entity. To do that, Ms. Throne-Holst said plans for the shelter include establishing services such as boarding, grooming, “doggy day care,” vaccinations, spaying and neutering.

East Quogue Acreage

Southampton Town has preserved an acre of wetlands bordering the hamlet of East Quogue and the Village of Quogue, according to Supervisor Linda Kabot’s office. Acquired by the town from Richard and Patricia Schultz, the 1-acre tract is situated on the corner of Box Tree Road and Lakewood Avenue.

Back in September, the board approved the purchase of the parcel for $50,000 and added it to the town’s Community Preservation Project Plan, which identifies target properties within the township for park, recreation, open space and conservation purposes.

“Wetlands are fragile but indispensable natural resources, which are immensely important to the town,” Ms. Kabot said, adding that the 1-acre purchase increases wetlands preservation within the Village of Quogue.

The East Quogue portion of the property is already part of the town’s Wetland Preservation Target Area.

Town Wants Channels Back

The Southampton Town Board is urging Cablevision to restore Public Access Channel 20 and Education and Government Channel 22 to its basic cable service.

Since September 15, when the channels were switched from analog to digital format, customers without a digital television or Cablevision converter box have been unable to access the two channels. According to Town Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, a 2004 agreement between the town and the cable company provided free access to the channels to all basic cable subscribers.

Ms. Graboski said Cablevision has offered to provide each basic cable customer with one free cable box that would change channels 20 and 22 back to analog format. However, that would provide reception on only one television set per household, which is insufficient in the councilwoman’s view, because it fails to honor the service agreement reached in 2004.

Cable customers wishing to receive the channels as they were able to prior to September 15 must either purchase additional converter boxes, replace their old sets with newer ones, or upgrade to an enhanced cable package, Ms. Graboski said.

“Clearly, these options have considerable related costs, which would have to be borne by individual Cablevision subscribers,” she said, adding that the company should simply restore the two channels to basic cable service.

“Our goal is simple,” she said, “replicate the service prior to September 15 without added costs for subscribers.”

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According to consumer reports, the law authorizing the changeover to digital broadcasts from analog broadcasts warrants cable tv companies to carry both analog and digital signals until 2012.
By Walt (292), Southampton on Nov 26, 08 9:22 AM