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257 Comments by Rickenbacker

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FOIL Documents Show Farina Investigation Targeted Invoices From Girlfriend's Therapy Business

$40k per student might be high looking at all of LI where the average is around $28k, but pretty low compared to the South Fork school districts, which can run as high as $100k per studenty, with most above $40k.
" Oct 25, 18 10:20 AM

OK, as of a report which was done a few years ago, that compared all of the districts east of the canal (there are 10 or them, all with superintendents, director of special ed, etc)), here was the breakdown (I would assume they have risen proportionately since): Wainscott ($112,190), Amagansett ($76,740), Bridgehampton ($61,473), Montauk ($58,088), Sagaponack ($40,965), Southampton ($36,983), Sag Harbor ($35,718), Springs ($35,604), Tuckahoe ($35,200), East Hampton ($33,026). At the time of the report, the national average was around $18,000, the LI average around $25,000. Clearly the more students you have the better your average cost per student could be. The average amount of student body in well-funded, well-run districts seems to be around 5k-6k per district. All 10 districts on the South Fork east of the canal comprise about that amount. It is simply insane that we have this many districts. It may have made sense years ago, but all it does now is provide low school taxes in certain bubbles, the lowest being Wainscott, Bridgehampton and Sagaponack. Dumb, and dumber.
" Oct 25, 18 4:57 PM

Nope. It might have been reasonable, but not, not a Tuckahoe resident. " Oct 27, 18 3:12 PM

That's frankly, a very myopic, tax-oriented view of the situation. The bigger picture is what those pint-sized districts, some with as little as a dozen students, are siphoning tax money that could be better used for an overall larger student body. Better programs, better options, more efficient use of money, for the students. There would definitely be synergies and eliminations in the administrative staffs, also saving money. The idea that Southampton would have totally absorbed the debt of Tuckahoe is not accurate, as the last deal had Tuckahoe taxpayers truing up their tax bill over a decade, where they would eventually reach parity with Southampton. Southampton taxpayers would have barely felt the difference, something like $300 per $1 million in valuation after a decade (and a reduction in the first two years). As I said, if you come only from a short-sighted tax viewpoint, then people might agree with you, but if you believe in a robust school system that isn't cutting programs for students, and is less competitive because of it, thereby hurting the overall community, then you might come around to the idea that all these tiny districts do nothing for students other than provide little tax shelters for the privileged homeowners in those districts. " Oct 30, 18 9:38 AM

Southampton Village Administrator Stephen Funsch To Retire In January; Russell Kratoville To Step In

What a bunch of trolls! Russell is probably the best qualified candidate for that position, and like the town, it is a position that oversees the day-to-day operations of the municipality. Clearly the village board felt the same way. Hey, it's not like he's a member of the Southampton Association, then I"d jump in and say patronage, but it isn't. Let him get settled and do a good job. I'm all for it.
" Nov 3, 18 9:03 PM

Plan To Demolish Jobs Lane Courtyard Ditched

Once again, the Southampton Association is behind a myopic, ill-advised campaign to stop any progress in Southampton. Remember the Tuckahoe school merger, they stopped that and now both schools suffer economically, now this moribund courtyard which never really worked (at least not since Gayle Wilson had a shop there), can't be repurposed? Reminds me of those other well-meaning ideologues who though Samuel Parrish would roll in his grave if a tree or fountain was moved for a prospective Parrish Art Museum upgrade. How did that work out for the Village? Keep making dumb ideas in the Village, and watch as more stores close and more people move away.
" Jan 9, 19 5:04 PM

Closing Of Southampton Village Stores Raises Concern For Some

I don't understand this mayor. Instead of just watching the village dry up, why not propose plans to stimulate the village downtown. How about change zoning so apartments can be built in a logical places? How about getting the arts institutions on the same page? A solution to the septic situation for wet space in the downtown area? There are a myriad of things the village can do now to seed for the future. How about just a positive attitude?" Jan 17, 19 12:29 PM

I agree with those who believe landlords are not necessarily being "greedy." Commercial rents are tied to a return on investment, and if the return on investment is reasonable from rents charged, then the landlords are just dealing with the reality of purchasing buildings for $3-5 million from what in some cases were previously local owners. Of course, we don't know what the ROI is for each current landlord is which is why we don't know if they are really being greedy or not, but market rates in general have surpassed the ability for most mom and pops to open or maintain stores in the main village business district. Someone above mentioned the resilience of a number of local family-owned businesses, and I believe, in almost every case, the buildings they inhabit are still owned by the same families that run those businesses. Online retail has also severely hurt brick and mortar stores. So we need some new planning and goals, and a vision from the village government that doesn't just stand by with their hands in their laps, but put forth real ideas that the community can get their arms around. The idea of a pedestrian mall idea isn't a bad one. Look at Charlottesville, VA, which did this and seems to be doing well. But the key to make that happen is parking, and you need plenty of it. So, if you want to go that way, revisit the late Moon Vahradian's idea of a multi-level parking area behind West Main Street. The parking lot is big and could support that idea. The posters who say that empty stores will force yearly rents down and cause the commercial real estate values to plummet enough to make rents affordable again, are likely looking at unreasonably long timeframes for anyone considering renting storefronts in the village pver the next decade. The pedestrian mall is only one of several ideas that might work for the village. The key is having leaders who can tie together the best ones with the logistics, politics, and support to get some of them implemented.
" Jan 18, 19 9:48 AM

The difference is that way back when there were not a lot of people here year round relative to today. Or at least the demand for more people wasn't here. Instead, you have many people who commute in and out rather than living here, and it's long past time that our communities support growth and smart strategies to help support that increase to convert some of them to year round residents. Since 911, we have seen a much larger influx of people, year round, and year round second homeowners, but the infrastructure has been sorely lacking because there are some who would like this area to remain a tiny backwater community. We could have solutions that both prohibit an up-island density but also encourage growth in the community. It will take planning, and time, but yes, I agree, with the high rents these opportunities might just be beyond our reach.
" Jan 19, 19 5:44 PM

Southampton Town Board Approves Accessory Apartment Law Modifications That Benefit Smaller Lots

This is a good beginning to what is a horrible problem out here now. Finding anything less than $2k per month is near impossible, so this new law may start helping some who need it. Bravo Town!
" Jan 23, 19 6:25 PM

Sixty-Unit Workforce Housing Complex Being Considered On County Road 39 In Southampton

We need this absolutely! The base rent for a 2 bedroom home in Southampton is now over $2,500/mo, which is near out of reach for many working people. A one bedroom apt, if you can find one, is nearly that much. You are living in the past if you think housing prices are going down, so this project should be applauded and welcomed. Those old saws of "looks like western Suffolk", "the traffic", etc, really fail be realistic responses when we are talking about workforce housing. This is one step in the right direction.
" Feb 9, 19 6:29 PM

Southampton Village Mayor Hopes To Put Sewers Back On The Table For Discussion

Good first step, Mayor. Get that back on the table, a journey of 1,000 steps starts with the first one. " Feb 14, 19 2:43 PM

Police Chief Raises Concerns Over State Plan To Legalize Marijuana

If the state legalizes it, it should be legal here. Legal shops that sell it will help ensure there is no mystery meat in the drug. There will still be street pot, but anyone with half a brain would be silly to go for something that they can buy legally and be assured it isn't laced with something. " Feb 25, 19 12:42 PM

UPDATE: Zeldin Votes Against Bill To Block Trump's National Emergency Declaration

Please, let's vote this guy out next time. He's useless. " Feb 26, 19 9:17 AM

Nathaniel Rogers House Faces Another Financial Setback In A Nearly Decade-Long Renovation

I've never understood the costs that go into this renovation. You could build a huge estate for $11 million, with pool, tennis, etc. There are many homes in historic Sag Harbor Village that have been restored to exacting standards that haven't cost near that amount of money. Who is running this showboat?" May 14, 19 11:58 AM

Real Estate Transfer Tax Bill To Support Affordable Housing Passes State Legislature

Would have been better to find a way to include a carve-out in the current 2% CPF fund, which already has 100's of millions of dollars flowing through it (they were able to do it with water quality). Why the extra 0.5%? Dumb, dumb, and in the end will hurt property values as well. For a house over $1 million, that's now a 3.5% overage on purchase price (1%, NY Mansion tax on houses over $1 million, 2% for CPF, and now an additional 0.5% on the housing tax). " Jun 25, 19 2:12 PM

Shinnecock Urges State Supreme Court To Dismiss Lawsuit Over Billboards

I think that proposal, while reasonable, would fail on two points, one technical, one economic. Technically, adding a cell tower on Westwoods might benefit boaters in Peconic Bay but would have little benefit to landbound places south and west, as the tower range isn't all that significant or would it cover that much area. Economically, the potential revenue generated by one tower would be dwarfed by the potential advertising revenue that could be generated by the monuments, with 4 ads showing simultaneously over many hours of the day. " Jul 1, 19 5:18 PM

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