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Dec 11, 2017 12:11 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sewer Plan Irks Some In Westhampton Beach

Trustee Stephen Frano listens to residents' input on the sewer system. KATE RIGA
Dec 12, 2017 12:27 PM

Those opposing Westhampton Beach’s plan to install a sewer district in the village’s downtown business district can demand a public referendum to derail the project—though the onus would be on them to make that happen.

Once Village Board members approve the multimillion-dollar bond for the project, the first phase of which is expected to run $16.75 million, opponents would have 30 days to secure the signatures of approximately 290 village residents—at least 20 percent of the 1,449 registered voters in the municipality—on a petition demanding that the sewer proposal be put up for a public vote.

The Village Board is not expected to approve the bond until the fall of 2018 at the earliest, officials said.

Citing state law pertaining to villages, Westhampton Beach Mayor Maria Moore this week stressed that board members have been “fully transparent” with their intentions, and that their plans to bond an estimated $12.8 million over 30 years to finance the proposed work should not catch anyone off-guard. She also emphasized that under its most conservative plan, the village should secure some $4 million in assorted grants for the sewer work.

“We have been fully transparent and have televised every meeting so far,” she said during last Thursday night’s board meeting. “And it’s our job to spend on infrastructure that’s falling apart, like the storm drains that are about to collapse.”

Village officials previously shared that 70 percent of the projected costs for phase one would be borne by those landlords and business owners directly benefiting from the sewers. The rest of the village would pick up the remaining 30 percent.

But village residents Bob and Sabina Trager are taking issue with the process, stating that it is unreasonable to expect opponents to collect roughly 300 signatures from registered voters in the off-season.

“Think of the endeavor of residents getting 20 percent signatures on a petition if the resolution is passed when most residents are out of town in the winter months,” he wrote in an email last week.

His wife, meanwhile, also insists that the village has not done enough to include taxpayers in the process.

“I’m not for or against the project,” she said. “But money is not printed in the basement, and some of us would rather pay for our children’s college tuition than a Main Street sewer project.”

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I am not "irked" by the sewer system. I am concerned the correct info is being reported in the SHP and by the Mayor. For instance, the project value is $16,750,000. Not $12.8 million. If the Village meets the stringent requirements of the Grant it will receive a "maximum" subsidiary of 25% of the project price equating to $4,187,500. So let's say they get the full Grant even though the net reduction in nitrogen is 2% for the WHB Bays. Now you will have to add another $1.25 mil for the Marina job ...more
By Bobt (48), WHB on Dec 11, 17 9:21 PM
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Also lets remember the 2016 annual expenses of WHB were $8,314,800 as of the 5/31/16 financial statement. The sewer project, marina project, and Main street add up to triple that number. Now take that a step further and look at what our tax/revenue receipts in that same year were- $10,229,906. In 2017 they budgeted $10,102,543. In 2018 they have budgeted $10,359,285. Is anyone besides me wondering where the surpluses are winding up? I don't see those aforementioned expenses changing that much. Is ...more
By Bobt (48), WHB on Dec 11, 17 9:53 PM
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If you can’t make the 5 pm Village meetings I encourage taxpayers to watch the videos on the website.

What’s not in the article but what I also stated, among many other things (you’ll see in the video), was that I’m pro-taxes for maintenance and upgrades for reasonable expenditures. I also commended the board for looking at ways to improve our Village.

What’s also not in the article are the cumulative costs already spent these last few years for the ...more
By st (129), westhampton beach on Dec 12, 17 9:34 AM
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