East Hampton Town Trustees-elect were sworn in on Tuesday night at the start of their organizational meeting and wasted no time getting down to business. Diane McNally and Stephanie Talmage were again appointed clerk and assistant clerk of the nine-member board.
Ms. McNally welcomed the freshman trustees, Deborah Klughers, Nat Miller, and Sean McCaffrey, and then set what she said was the board’s broad agenda: “We’re going to kick butt.” Stephen Lester, also a non-incumbent, has served on the board before.
Ms. McNally said both she and Ms. Talmage agreed that lack of enforcement of trustee regulations was undermining the trustees’ 300-year-old prerogatives. Trouble is, she said, the trustees do not have enforcement authority per se and must rely on the town’s marine police force, which she described as understaffed.
Managing the annual placement and removal of boat moorings, duck blinds, and snow fencing, getting derelict boats off the beach at season’s end, safeguarding scallop spawning sanctuaries from shellfish pirates, halting the taking of undersize crabs from Georgica Pond, and more all come with regulations that trustees say are not being enforced.
“Scallop sanctuaries don’t work. They’re a good idea, but there’s no enforcement,” said Mr. Miller, a bayman by trade. “It works, but we’re swimming against the tide,” he said, the tide being scallopers who were targeting the off-limit sanctuaries that are meant to increase spawning success, “either for personal gain or personal dinner. Something has to be done,” Mr. Miller said.
“Enforcement has to be a priority even if we have to pay,” Ms. Talmage said, going on to explore the possibility that the board might hire a bay constable specifically to address the trustees’ needs.
John Courtney, who was again hired to serve as the board’s attorney, advised the trustees to “work with the town board. A lot of this is in the code. You’ve got to get them to do it,” Mr. Courtney said, opening the book of town regulations and citing several that required enforcement of trustee regulations.
Mr. Courtney explained that language bringing the town’s police powers to bear when trustee regulations are violated could be found throughout the town code. And while the language leaves no doubt that the town backs the trustees, there is no single declaration, as is the case in Southampton’s rulebook.
“We’ve got to be the squeaky wheel,” Ms. McNally said. And, she told fellow trustees that their meeting schedule might have to be expanded to three per month instead of two because of the ever-increasing workload.
Trustees passed resolutions to again name The Star as their newspaper of record, to hire Lori Miller-Carr as their secretary, to arrange the opening and closing of Georgica Pond, and to execute leases for trustee-owned land in the Lazy Point community of Amagansett.
The 2012 fee schedule was also announced. There will be a $60 fee for first-time applications, $40 for renewals. Residents will pay $7.75 per boat-length foot for moorings, nonresidents, $15.50. There will be a $50 inspection fee for large-boat moorings in Three Mile Harbor. Commercial fishermen will get one mooring for free, a second mooring for $15 per boat-length foot. Transient moorings can be rented for $76 per night.
Private docks on trustee-owned bottomland and walkways over it will cost $2 per linear foot, per year, commercial docks and walkways, $3 per linear foot. The municipal docks will be charged $3 per linear foot per year. There will be a $50 minimum for any dock or walkway.
Baymen will pay $20 per fish trap. Pilings driven into trustee-owned bottomland will cost $10 each, bottom is available for duck blinds for $20 each, the trustees’ public blinds can be used for $25 per day.
The trustees will sell dredge material for $7.50 per cubic yard to match the price Southampton is charging, and there will be a $250 minimum purchase. Permits for other structures and staircases will cost $3 per square foot. Non-motorized vessels stored on trustee beaches will require a $150 permit.
Trustees agreed to raise the $750 lease fee for land at Lazy Point to $1,000 per year. Plus, Lazy Point residents who lease a portion of a second lot will be charged proportionally at that rate. There is a transfer fee of 2 percent of house rentals or sales at Lazy Point.
Shellfish bags will cost $75 each for commercial fishermen, $1 each for the general public. Shellfish tags are free for the first 100, $10 for each 100 thereafter. There will be at least a $250 charge when an unmotorized boat left on the beach after the Nov. 1 deadline is impounded. That fee may well go up.
For 2012, the trustee clerk will receive $37,530 from the town budget, and $2,500 per month from the trustee budget. The assistant clerk receives $9,686.26 from the town budget. The other trustees will get an annual remuneration of $7,264.70.