Many people have remarked that the past summer season has seemed exceptionally busy. But as school starts, many summer visitors leave and things calm down.
The summer went off with a bang on July 11 when a private group called Save the Shelter Island Fireworks took over the event from the Chamber of Commerce. It was a spectacular show, but it is funded entirely by private donations so everyone enjoying it should contribute their share to the event.
The weather was wonderful, but very dry. Irrigation systems are ONLY allowed to operate if the property owner has an IRRIGATION PERMIT! The permit can be obtained from the building department. Most residents chose to do the right thing and get their permit, but all should remember that grandfathered irrigation systems will lose their grandfathered status if they go two years without a permit. With everyone sharing Shelter Island’s sole source aquifer, we all have to pull together to ensure we all have plenty of safe drinking water.
The Town currently tracks the height of the water table. The Town is going has been discussing more extensive monitoring of Shelter Island freshwater. The Town Board met with the United States Geographic Service to explore more extensive testing of water quality for a number of different substances and testing to identify the interface between the fresh and salt water tables. In deciding how far to go the Town Board has to balance the need to test with the cost of testing.
The autumn is the time when the Town Board decides on the budget for 2016. It’s a tough job, particularly under the 2% tax cap. In 2016 it is not even 2%--it is only 0.73%. That allows an increase of only $60,000 in the town’s 2016 budget. That’s not enough to adequately handle important programs like water quality testing and tick reduction, much less pay for Albany-imposed mandates, rising employee benefit costs and spending to provide safe roads and adequate policing.
So far, the hurricane season has been mild. But everyone should know and use the Town’s Code Red system, where important informational alerts about the storm and road status can be sent directly to you via phone, text or email. Visit the Shelter Island Police Department website for info on how to register with Code Red so you get the alerts. Another summer has passed with PSEG still searching for a solution to providing reliable power to Shelter Island. In the meantime, the town is relying on loaned PSEG generators to power the island if one of the two remaining underwater electric lines fails.
Election season is underway and we’ll be seeing some new faces on the Town Board next January. Councilman Peter Reich is stepping down after 8 years of service and Councilmember Ed Brown has announced his resignation effective December 31, 2015. Al Hammond is also retiring after many years as Town Assessor. We all offer many thanks to all of these public officials for their years of valuable service to the community.
Keep an eye on the newspaper for weekly reports on Town news and on this webpage for quarterly updates.
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