East Hampton Fire Department Substation Coming to Northwest

A long-discussed plan to construct a fire department substation in Northwest Woods is moving forward. 

East Hampton Village contracts with the town to serve the Northwest fire and water supply protection districts. It has received approvals from permitting agencies including the Suffolk County Health Department and the town’s planning and architectural review boards, the village administrator, Becky Hansen, reported at a village board work session last Thursday. 

When completed, the substation, to be situated on Old Northwest Road, will house a fire truck and an ambulance, she said. 

The village will lease a property from the town, at an annual rate of $20, to construct the facility. The village will borrow money to build the facility, Ms. Hansen said, and the town will reimburse the village for the costs of borrowing related to construction. 

Ms. Hansen and Linda Riley, the village’s attorney, drafted a lease with the town attorney’s office that includes a provision that, should the town ever opt to void the agreement, the village would relinquish the building to the town, which would assume ownership and financial responsibility. 

Once a lease is finalized, the project can go out to bid and a contractor selected, Ms. Hansen said, “and we could be on our way.” 

Last Thursday’s work session began with a moment of silence for Ben and Bonnie Krupinski, their grandson, William Maerov, and Jon Dollard, their pilot, who died on June 2 when the small plane they were flying in crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off Amagansett. “Hug that person that’s next to you, that’s a member of your family,” Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. told the gathering. “Life is very fragile, and this is an indication as to that being just the case.” 

Also at the meeting last Thursday, the East Hampton Village Board adopted a $22.3 million budget for the 2018-19 year. 

The budget has a spending increase of $713,000, or slightly more than 3 percent, over this year. The tax rate will rise by 2.5 percent, to $29.99 per $100 of assessed value. 

Real estate tax revenue is projected to rise by $396,000, to $13.287 million, and nontax revenue by $317,000, to $8.46 million. 

A public hearing drew no comment, either from the board or from those in attendance. Ms. Hansen said that only minimal changes were made to the budget from its initial, tentative iteration. Money appropriated to complete upgrades to the dispatching center, which village officials had deemed outdated and inadequate more than a year ago, account for the bulk of an additional $95,000 increase, she said. 

Police, fire departments and ambulance companies, bus drivers, Highway Department workers, and parks and recreation staff use the system. The upgrade is to include new dispatch and backup consoles and radios for emergency personnel as well as public works, code enforcement, and beach officials. “The village is well positioned to fully fund that project without having to incur any long-term borrowing toward it,” Ms. Hansen said. She estimated an early-fall completion date.

Another increase in the budget is for the planned demolition of a house at 8 Osborne Lane, on which a parking lot is to be created. The board had appropriated $30,000 in the present fiscal year’s budget for the demolition, but subsequently decided to combine the demolition with the parking lot’s construction so that a single contractor could be engaged. The board accepted a $170,000 bid for the project. The $30,000 will be encumbered into the 2018-19 fiscal year’s budget, as the project will not start until after Labor Day. 

The increases are offset, Ms. Hansen said, by an increase in Building Department revenue. The village projects $700,000, up from an original estimate of $600,000, in building permit fees. The village had budgeted $515,000 in such fees for the current fiscal year, but building permits have brought in more than $900,000, with seven weeks remaining in the fiscal year, Ms. Hansen said. 

The board voted to schedule an organizational meeting for July 3 at 11 a.m. It will not meet again until July 31, when it will close the fiscal year. Though the board typically holds a work session on the first Thursday of every month, it will not meet on Aug. 2.