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  • School district budget planning has recently been without customary fireworks. In part, this is because a state cap on how much taxes can be increased has taken the heat out of the process, with a supermajority of voter approval necessary to pierce the cap. This is not to suggest that school spending is unimportant; rather, as the work educators do gets ever more complex, how money is allotted remains key.
  • A mailing from the Garden Club of East Hampton with pretty painted images of plants native to this area arrived this week and piqued our interest. There, arrayed on a folding card announcing the club’s upcoming annual sale, were milkweed and arrowwood, viburnum, columbine, eastern shadbush, cardinal flower, New England aster, and bearberry — which hungry deer avoid and are in their own ways important parts of the ecosystem, enjoyed by bird and bug alike.
  • East Hampton Town Trustee Pat Mansir’s surprise resignation last week presents a good opportunity to make some general observations about the town’s oldest continuous government body and how it must now change to keep up with the times.
  • Many in the commercial fishing industry are frustrated with the pace of planning a planned wind farm in the Atlantic east of Montauk. The project, they say, will hurt their ability to make a living and they are feeling left behind by public officials and by public sentiment, which appears largely supportive. Aware of these concerns, Deepwater Wind, the company planning the turbines, wants to hire a handful of local representatives to help smooth the waters.
  • As the United States enters a dark age for environmental protection by Washington, the job has come down both literally and figuratively to our own backyards.
  • John Keeshan, who was in the news last week for folding his eponymous real estate agency into the Compass group, made the papers some years back with his push to get rid of the welter of utility lines that mar the view as one approaches Montauk’s commercial center from the west. The effort to bury the wires stalled, as do many such things, because of money, or, more accurately, the lack thereof. Elsewhere, well-heeled residents have banded together to create special tax districts to pay for taking down the poles; in Montauk that prospect was never good.
  • Many people, especially urban users of ride hailing services, prefer summoning Uber or Lyft on their smartphones instead of calling for a taxi. Following a state budget deal, Uber and its competitors will pick up passengers legally in East Hampton Town, as well as upstate, where they had been unable to operate because of legal and insurance requirements. Expect traffic around the South Fork’s hot spots to get a lot worse this summer.
  • Eight million dollars seems like a lot of money for where the Sag Harbor Cinema lobby stood until it was destroyed in fire in December. However, the sum a civic group has pledged to buy the site and the relatively unscated theater behind it and eventually build a new cultural center will prove well worth it in the long run.
  • Expressions of outrage this week about an announcement by the Corcoran real estate firm that it would fly select potential clients by helicopter from Manhattan to the South Fork to view properties was predictable, if somewhat overblown. While the promotion might well add to air traffic, its effect will be negligible when compared to the ever-increasing use of East Hampton Airport by noisy aircraft of all sorts.
  • Water quality and environmental well-being are taking top billing these days. Along with East Hampton Town, Suffolk is taking steps to reduce the amount of nitrogen and other pollutants in household wastewater.