Government Briefs 07.07.11

East Hampton Town
Councilman Swings His Vote
    Grasses, not grapes, will be grown on town-owned farmland at Robert’s Lane and Cedar Street in East Hampton, according to a majority vote of the town board on Tuesday. The decision must still be formalized with a resolution.
    Board members have been weighing two proposals from potential lessees — one from a nurseryman who wants to grow native grasses and the other from members of the Principi family who proposed growing wine grapes there.
    Councilwoman Theresa Quigley, citing a desire to promote wineries in East Hampton Town, and Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson favored the grape-growing plan, while Councilman Pete Hammerle and Councilwoman Julia Prince voted to lease the land to the grass-grower.
    Town Councilman Dominick Stanzione took a bit of razzing from Mr. Wilkinson for his swing vote siding with the two Democrats on the board, against his fellow Republicans. To grow grapes, the property would have to be fenced off from deer, he said, according to the proposal, an idea he was “not too keen on.”

Separation Incentive Program
    Before the end of its session in Albany, the New York State Legislature acted on East Hampton Town’s request for permission to borrow money to fund an employee separation incentive program.
    A change to the state finance law will allow the town to issue a 10-year bond to cover the cost of incentives and benefit payouts to employees who opt to step down from their town posts. A separation program is yet to be designed or offered.
    Though there is no legal requirement that the state approve an employee separation program, Town Supervisor Bill Wilkinson has maintained that the ability to borrow the money for its cost was crucial, and said the Legislature’s failure last year to approve the town’s request to issue bonds for it prevented it from moving forward.