2019 Budget and Springs Study on Agenda

East Hampton Town's study of Springs present and future will be formally presented at a meeting tonight in Town Hall. David E. Rattray

The East Hampton Town Board is expected to adopt the town’s 2019 budget at its meeting tonight, which will also include a public hearing on the hamlet study focusing on Springs.

Len Bernard, the town’s budget officer, told the board at its Nov. 1 meeting that the state comptroller had found all revenue and expense projections in the $80.7 million budget to be reasonable. By law, the budget must be adopted by Nov. 20.

The preliminary budget represents a 3.8-percent increase over last year’s spending, though 25 percent of that increase goes to the fund for East Hampton Airport, to purchase aviation fuel. That expense is more than offset by revenue from selling the fuel to airport operators. “If you take out the airport, which is self-funding and does not levy a tax, that increase goes down by almost 1 percent, to 2.8,” Mr. Bernard told the board. 

Tax rates increase by 2.33 percent outside the incorporated village and 3.3 percent within it. 

Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc will receive a salary of $111,265 in 2019. His colleagues on the board will each be paid $69,541. The town justices’ salary is $80,806, and the town clerk and superintendent of highways will each be compensated at $93,793. The chair of assessors’ salary will be $89,250, and the two town assessors will each be paid $80,591. The clerk of the town trustees’ salary will be $23,201, the two deputy clerks will each be paid $18,934, and the other six trustees will each be paid $8,060. 

Before closing the hearing, the board voted to add $5,000 to a grant to the East End Special Players, a theater group for the developmentally disabled. “As a result, all the rates will change, microscopically,” Mr. Bernard said. “That will be what we put up for adoption.” 

“I think we’re in very sound financial position,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said at the Nov. 1 meeting. “We are maintaining our AAA rating with Moody’s, which is probably a very strong indicator that we’re in good shape. It’s no surprise the state would follow through by giving thumbs-up approval.”

The public hearing for the Springs hamlet study will be the fourth of five on the studies. Public comment on the studies focusing on Wainscott and Amagansett was largely positive, but the East Hampton study’s hearing saw several Springs residents voicing worry that development and redevelopment on either side of Springs-Fireplace Road would overwhelm the already well-traveled corridors to their hamlet. 

Overall goals of the Springs study, to be incorporated into the comprehensive plan if approved, are to preserve and enhance the hamlet’s scenic, rural, and historical character; improve water quality and reduce pollution loading to its harbors; improve safety and connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists; provide alternative parking options for home-based contractor businesses, and protect and enhance the walkability, cohesiveness, attractiveness, and functionality of the head of Three Mile Harbor and the east end of Fort Pond Boulevard. 

Tonight’s meeting is at 6:30 at Town Hall.