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11/20/13 3:43pm
11/20/2013 3:43 PM
Town Board budget, state audit

TIM GANNON FILE PHOTO | The Riverhead Town Board during last year’s budget talks.

The Riverhead Town Board unanimously adopted its 2014 town budget Tuesday with no changes from the tentative budget Supervisor Sean Walter presented at the end of September.

The adopted budget called for a tax rate increase of 2.17 percent in the townwide budget, which includes the three town taxing districts — general, highway and street lighting — that all residents pay into.

For someone with a $50,000 assessed value (which equates to a market value of about $312,891), that would mean an increase of about $52 in taxes for those three districts, for which spending increased by 3.02 percent to $54.6 million.

However, the town also controls a number of other special taxing districts, such as water, sewer and garbage, and with those included, total town spending in the approved budget is $91.9 million, up 3.2 percent from $89 million in 2013.

The adopted budget relies on the use of $3.5 million in town reserves to keep the tax rate down. That will leave the town with only about $3 million remaining in reserves, officials said. Supervisor Sean Walter said the biggest reason for the increase is the $4 million in debt service the town is paying on the decade-old landfill capping and excavating project.

Security cameras, take 2

The Town Board on Tuesday re-advertised a request for proposals for downtown security camera systems after getting only one response to an earlier request. This time, the board is specifying proposals for the installation and maintenance of an internet protocol (IP) wireless video security system, which is said to be the state-of-the-art method because it is both cheaper and more efficient.

The board also added the Grangebel Park area to the list of seven other downtown locations where the town wants to install cameras.

The proposals are due by Dec. 18. The downtown Business Improvement District has called for the camera system.

Pine Barrens credits to Deer Park

A Town Board resolution authorized Tuesday will allow Pine Barrens development credits from property in Riverhead Town to be used for a project on Commack Road in Deer Park called The Learning Experience.

The resolution authorizes use of 2.71 credits to increase permitted building density for the Deer Park project.

Supervisor Sean Walter said this is a good deal for the town because the Riverhead land will remain undeveloped and the development credits will be used outside the town.

The owner of the Pine Barrens land in Riverhead, the Theodore Roosevelt Council of the Boy Scouts of America, will be paid by the Deer Park developer for the credits, he said. The credits come from land in the 403-acre Schiff Scout Reservation, formerly known as Camp Wauwepex, on Wading River-Manor Road in Wading River.

11/19/13 12:00pm
11/19/2013 12:00 PM
MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

MICHAEL WHITE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

Riverhead town board members are set to vote on spending up to $162,390 to complete its study at EPCAL, which is being done by Hauppauge-based planning firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin.

According to the terms of the resolution the board will consider, “VHB was required to undertake negotiations the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (sic) and as a result of the negotiations VHB was required to modify the subdivision plan several times to obtain NYSDEC support for the project, and as a necessary consequence of the re-design of the subdivision VHB was required re-analyze potential environmental impacts (sic) for each proposed plan.”

The town board originally entered into an agreement with VHB in February of 2011 for a $462,000 study, a plan which will subdivide the Calverton parcel which the town has owned since the 1990s. In March of this year, VHB got the town to amend its original contract, noting that if they were not allowed to represent clients before the Riverhead Town Board, they would back out of the plan.

“We’re one year away from finishing it now,” Sueprvisor Sean Walter said at the time. “If VHB quits, we’d be two years away.”

Mr. Walter was not immediately available for comment.

In a Nov. 6 letter to the supervisor, Kevin Walsh, VHB’s managing director of Long Island Operations, pointed to a “substantial re-design of the subdivision and re-analysis of impacts that have changed during the course of negotiations” with the DEC, in creating a viable plan for EPCAL.

Read Walsh’s letter here:

CDA #16 – TA Authorize Addendum #2-VHB Engineering ATT

2014 budget vote

Board members are also planning to vote on the 2014 budget.

A public hearing was held earlier this month on the budget, which calls for a 3 percent increase in spending and a 2.17 percent tax rate increase in the so-called townwide budget – which includes the three funds that all residents pay into. There are also a number of special sewer, water and garbage districts that vary by area, and those would bring total town spending up by three percent to $91.9 million, under the budget proposal.

Supervisor Sean Walter is proposing to use $3.5 million of town reserves to keep taxes down, leaving only about $3 million left in the reserve account. He says this is necessary because the town is paying $4 million in debt on the town landfill reclamation, which went over budget during the previous administration.

Downtown cameras coming?

Board members will also vote on putting out a request for proposals for security cameras downtown, which has been a topic of conversation in recent years.

According to the bid package, prices for cameras in several locations would be needed as part of the bid, including by the Peconic River, Main Street, Griffing Avenue, East Avenue, and other areas downtown.

Tonight’s meeting is set to start at 7 p.m.

Click here to read tonight’s agenda.

10/31/13 10:00am
10/31/2013 10:00 AM


The Riverhead Town Board discussed security cameras for downtown Riverhead at its work session Thursday morning, as well as a traffic study of downtown that is part of a state Brownfields Opportunities Area grant it received.

The meeting started at 10 a.m. and News-Review reporter Tim Gannon live blogged it. Click below to follow or comment.

05/31/13 11:00am
05/31/2013 11:00 AM
NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

NEWS-REVIEW FILE PHOTO | Riverhead Town Hall on Howell Avenue.

Things even got heated at a Town Board work session Thursday, during a talk about downtown parking lots.

An argument between councilmen Jim Wooten and Councilman John Dunleavy resulted in the other three Town Board members briefly leaving the room.

The two continued to argue in front of the public.

It was also learned Thursday that Riverhead Town didn’t need to use as much of the town’s surpluses in 2012 as expected,  according to the town’s annual financial report for that year.

The report is required by the state each year and is unaudited, town finance administrator Bill Rothaar said Thursday. The town’s budget for 2012, which was adopted in November of 2011, allocated $2.6 million in fund balance to lower taxes, Mr. Rothaar said. But the town in 2012 brought in about $500,000 more in revenue than the budget anticipated, and spent about $1 million less than expected.

Because of this, the town only needed to use about $1 million in surplus funds in 2012, and not the $2.6 million it had anticipated in the adopted budget, Mr. Rothaar said.

The board also discussed moving the Lighthouse Mission’s food distribution program for the needy, which is run on Fridays, from the parking lot south of East Main Street to another spot.

To see what else was discussed at Thursday’s work session, read a recap of reporter Tim Gannon’s live blog of the meeting by clicking below.

May_30,_2013_-_Agenda by rnews_review