Shoreham-Wading River places two referendums on May ballot

Shoreham-Wading River residents will be asked to vote on a pair of ballot propositions in May that, if approved, would allow the district to remove and replace fuel storage tanks at district schools and improve the drainage system at Briarcliff Elementary School.

The SWR Board of Education approved a measure at Tuesday night’s meeting that places both propositions on the ballot for the district’s annual May 17 budget vote.

The underground fuel tank replacement project comes with an $825,000 price tag, and the drainage project would cost about $66,000. Both projects would be covered by a portion of prior years’ state aid, a fund of $5 million, according to board president Jack Costas.

Both are zero levy propositions, meaning if voters approve the projects, taxes will not increase.

Superintendent Harriet Copel said replacing the fuel tanks is essential, as the 44-year old existing tanks pose a great threat.

“The technology is outdated, the potential for risk if they should leak, burst or collapse is a large risk and it’s in the best interest of the district to replace them,” she said.

Board president Jack Costas echoed Dr. Copel’s concern.

“It’s an astronomical risk,” he said.

The drainage system at Briarcliff Elementary School has for years posed a safety risk to students and faculty, as well as  residents of Briarcliff Road, the board said. A great deal of runoff from the school’s parking lot and driveway pours down the steep, hilly part of Briarcliff Road. There are no catch basins, causing runoff to build up and a layer of ice to form in the winter. The district employs a maintenance worker to sand and salt the road on winter mornings.

“The village doesn’t want our drainage on their road, and they have absolute authority to demand we remedy that,” Mr. Costas said. “It’s high time that this is done.”

Board members Leo Greely, Bill McGrath and Mike Fucito were absent from the meeting.

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