Government Briefs 10.31.13

East Hampton Town

Budget, Land Buy Hearings

    The East Hampton Town Board will hold a hearing at Town Hall next Thursday at 7 p.m. on a proposed $69.9 million budget for 2014. An initial tentative spending plan was amended, with the addition of several items totaling $62,000.  Len Bernard, the town’s budget officer, said Tuesday that the final numbers bring the budget to within $6,500 of the maximum tax increase amount allowed the town under a state-imposed 2-percent cap on tax increases. A hearing will also be held next Thursday night on the purchase of 1.9 acres on Montauk Highway in Amagansett for a total of $750,000. The property is jointly owned by several holders, including the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons and Tufts and Yeshiva Universities. An anonymous donor will be contributing $350,000 to the town toward the cost; the remainder will come from the community preservation fund.

Suffolk County

Water Body Research

    Researchers at Stony Brook University have found that Georgica Pond is one of the most pristine bodies of water in Suffolk County.  A study commissioned by the East Hampton Town Trustees followed the September 2012 death of a dog that may have consumed water from or near Georgica Pond, which, it was feared, might have contained blue-green algae. Earlier this year, the trustees had voted to initiate monitoring of the waters in its jurisdiction and launched a partnership with Dr. Christopher Gobler, an expert on toxic algae.

    Dr. Gobler compared his findings at Georgica and other water bodies in East Hampton Town to 12 sites across the county. Georgica Pond, which is brackish and periodically opened to the Atlantic, had some of the lowest levels of blue-green algae, with each of two sites sampled within the pond having, on average, less than 1 microgram per liter during the spring, summer, and fall of 2013. In a press release, Dr. Gobler noted that Lake Agawam in Southampton Village and Mill Pond in Water Mill had more than 20 micrograms of blue algae per liter, a finding that warranted listing with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. A follow-up study of Georgica, as part of the continued water quality monitoring of all trustee-managed waters, is planned in 2014.    C.W.