Walter calls using reserves for highway equipment ‘reckless’

Riverhead Town Supervisor
TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter voted against a high way reserves transfer Tuesday.

In a split vote, the Riverhead Town Board approved a budget adjustment Tuesday that saw $740,000 transferred from town highway district reserves.

The move allowed the department to reimburse a state-designated fund set aside for road improvements, as well use $332,000 to purchase two new highway trucks and other equipment.

The vote was 3-2 with Town Supervisor Sean Walter and Councilman George Gabrielsen voting against the measure.

“Once this money’s gone, it’s gone. It’s not going to be put back with the 2 percent [state mandated, year-to-year] tax cap,” Mr. Walter said specifically in reference to the $332,00 amount, which will be used to purchase a sweeper and a front-end loader. “This is, dare I say, reckless.”

Mr. Gabrielsen said, “Times are tough and we have to stave this stuff for a snowy day, so I’m going to vote no.”

Council members Jim Wooten and Jodi Giglio said they believed spending the money now could save the town later.

Mr. Walter said he would rather see the money go toward the “promised” $350,000 project to rehab the Wading River Duck Ponds.

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