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Aug 12, 2009 1:13 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

PILOTs to be based on collected revenue from prior calendar year, not projections

Aug 12, 2009 1:13 PM

In its ongoing effort to clarify how tax relief is calculated for eligible districts in the Payment in Lieu of Taxes, or PILOT, program, the Southampton Town Board adopted a policy Tuesday that requires maximum payments be based on the revenue collected during the prior calendar year as opposed to a projection of the coming year’s revenue, which had been the method.

Under the PILOT, program, the town may take up to 10 percent from its Community Preservation Fund to compensate districts that have lost tax revenue because land within their boundaries was removed from the tax rolls for preservation purposes. Prior to Tuesday’s vote, the town would calculate that 10 percent based on estimated CPF revenues, which are generated by a 2-percent real estate transfer tax. By basing PILOTs on the prior year’s revenue instead, the town and the districts will know exactly how much tax relief is available.

The town also clarified that PILOTs are subject to two thresholds, the first being the 10 percent ceiling and the second being that the maximum payment may not exceed the total tax liability. For example, if the town took in $25 million in the prior calendar year, then the maximum available for PILOT payments is $2.5 million. But if the tax liability of qualified parcels is less than that, say $2 million, then the town may not send out a penny more than $2 million. The PILOTs are always limited to the lesser of the two amounts.

The town also established a PILOT reserve, so that when town officials choose to send out less than both thresholds, the balance can be put aside for future PILOTs. Money can be put into the reserve only at Town Board discretion and may be used for PILOTs only when approved by Town Board resolution.

Engineering contracts

The Town Board also approved two engineering contracts with L.K. McLean Associates of Brookhaven, one to repair the bridge at Jobs Lane in Bridgehampton and the other for drainage on Lewis Road in East Quogue. McLean was retained for a total of $64,871, with $32,370 for the work on the Jobs Lane Bridge and $32,501 to address the silt buildup at the sump on Lewis Road.

Energy Audit

In an effort to increase energy efficiency and reduce costs at Town Hall, Town Board members Chris Nuzzi and Anna Throne-Holst are calling for an energy audit of all town government facilities. The two sponsored a resolution that the Town Board adopted Tuesday soliciting bids from companies that would conduct the comprehensive audit. The town is looking for a company that will advise the town on how it can best save energy and what the costs would be for implementing those recommendations.

Waste Management Committee

In other business this week, the Town Board brought back the Waste Management Advisory Committee, which was disbanded in January 2008. Mr. Nuzzi sponsored the resolution to reestablish the committee, which is comprised of community members, which serves in an advisory capacity to the Town Board. The committee will serve through the remainder of 2009 and take part in the ongoing discussions regarding privatizing Waste Management operations. Priscilla Ciccariello, Lucille Dunne, Dan Gebbia and Stephanie McNamara were appointed to the committee at Tuesday’s meeting, with Paul DiMaria, the town’s environmental facilities manager, to serve in an ex-officio capacity.

Honoring Cannuscio

The town will begin accepting bids for the design and construction of the Cannuscio Trail in Southampton, in honor of Vincent Cannuscio, the late former town supervisor. The sealed bids will be accepted on Wednesday, September 9, at 2 p.m. in the town clerk’s office at Town Hall.

FEMA maps

Also on Tuesday, the Town Board held a public hearing on and discussed the updates to its Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps, which detail the various flood zone categories in the town so that residents who live in those zones can be eligible for FEMA flood insurance. The town must update the zones by August 25, to comply with federal guidelines. Another public hearing will be held on the updated maps on August 25 before the Town Board votes to adopt the final changes.

Outdoor Lighting

The Town Board on Tuesday adjourned its public hearing on a proposed outdoor lighting code that would regulate lighting on new homes and businesses and mandate compliance to the code for existing homes and businesses over a period of 10 years. The intent behind the legislation is to mitigate light pollution and enhance the aesthetics of the nighttime sky.

The legislation also aims to reduce nuisance lighting, such as lights shining into neighboring homes. While many residents support the legislation, which is sponsored by Councilwoman Nancy Graboski, many business owners find the proposed codes too regulatory and burdensome on entrepreneurs and residents, especially in today’s economy. The hearing was adjourned until September 22 to work out the legislation, with one possible alternative to separate the commercial and residential aspects of the code.

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Lighting code? How ridiculous is that. What's next... what color shirts we can wear, what's for dinner, what car we can drive in the town. If our Town Board doesn't create a law a day, they feel cheated.
By The Real World (368), southampton on Aug 12, 09 1:33 PM
Well, thew town has only been here since 1640, how fast can they react to things? Geez!

After this law is passed we will sit down, eat granola and sing Kumbaya.
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Aug 12, 09 2:52 PM