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  •     By now local school boards are deep into the annual budget-writing season, and once again we hear that tax increases must be kept below the 2-percent cap. We believe the time has come, however, for boards to deal head-on with the state-imposed curb by bringing spending plans that would result in exceeding the cap to voters, if necessary, or by taking serious steps toward reducing costs by consolidating districts.

  •     It is quite the wonder why two members of the last East Hampton Town Board were so vehemently opposed to an independent study of the unused Springs-Fireplace Road wastewater treatment plant now that a report on what should happen there has been released. As it turns out, their pet project to privatize the site would not only have cost the town a great deal of money, but would have contributed to groundwater contamination rather than alleviated it.

  •     The truth about the debacle that emerged recently concerning the East Hampton Town tax receiver’s office is that the buck, apparently, stops with no one. This responsibility gulf presents a most compelling argument for creating the new post of town manager with strong oversight capability.

  •     America’s top-grossing 7-Eleven is in Montauk, and, according to the franchisee, the location served as many as 4,000 customers a day last summer. Now, a property owner and a different operator would like to bring at least some of that wild success to Amagansett — and there is really nothing in the East Hampton Town Code to stop it.

  •     A recent East Hampton Town Zoning Board of Appeals decision to allow the former East Deck Motel in Montauk to be buffered from the Atlantic by a 20-foot-high man-made dune appeared to sidestep several key questions — notably whether the project had adequate scrutiny and whether it might jeopardize the public use of the beach. The work was pitched as a restoration, but on closer look, it is far more than that and points to inadequacies in the law, which would affect how the town deals with such requests in the future.

  •     East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell expressed the feelings of many residents this week when he sent a strongly worded letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo objecting to PSEG Long Island’s ongoing project to run new, high-voltage power lines between East Hampton and Amagansett. We applaud his effort and hope that he is joined by others, such as State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle and Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr., in calling for a different approach.

  •     East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell has begun working with a number of other officials on revising the town’s gatherings law, with an eye toward controlling the burgeoning nightlife scene in Montauk. Meanwhile, a committee asked to study taxicab operations, including rabid price-gouging, has been revitalized. The work is long overdue, and but part of what it will take to make the easternmost hamlet a little less of a no-holds-barred party destination for summer 2014.

  •     There is some good news on the environment for eastern Long Island and some that’s not so good. Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said recently that water quality was now his administration’s top priority. In East Hampton, Democrats listed groundwater and the areas’s bays and harbors among their key platform planks last year. Yet the State of New York, despite a projected budget surplus in the coming fiscal year, appears poised to cut environmental funding.

  •     Forget about the ice, the snow, the wind, and all that this winter. No: The real problem with winter 2014 is the potholes.
               
        Montauk Highway, which bears the bulk of this area’s traffic, is the worst of it. Deep pits lie in wait for tires and rims. Many offer a telltale clue: striped lines a layer down suggesting that the last time the road was paved something wasn’t done quite right.

  •     The nice old house and outbuildings at 208 Montauk Highway in Amagansett had been for sale for quite a while with no buyer emerging when the owner approached East Hampton Town Hall for help. The result is a hearing at East Hampton Town Hall tonight on a zone change that just might hasten a closing. But the request, to go from a residential designation with a limited-business overlay within the Amagansett Historic District to full-on commercial, should be rejected.