The Wednesday evening meetings

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Wednesday evening meetings

At the monthly Village Trustees Work Session which started at 7:00 pm, nothing much happened.

Clerk of the Village Rebecca Molinaro took municipal notice of today's ruling by State Supreme Court Judge R. Bruce Cozzens that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's 0.34% payroll mobility tax is unconstitutional, and how it might impact Westhampton Beach which is moving to reclaim money "illegally" collected since 2009.

(The three year old law was meant to bail out the MTA from a $2 billion-a-year shortfall, and affected rail riders in New York City and the counties of Suffolk, Nassau, Westchester and Dutchess.)

The Village also discussed the new Emergency Shelter Agreement with the Westhampton Beach School District wherein the High School will be the designated location for those residents... starting with those on Dune Road... who must be evacuated during an approaching hurricane.

This has been deemed a priority by the Village after the confusion during the run-up to Hurricane Irene a year ago when a Southampton Town Emergency Preparedness Official directed evacuees to a site where no shelter had been prepared.

(As Chelsea Handler sez: "Oopsie!")

Four Village staffers and five employees of the West­hamp­ton Beach School District will be trained by the Red Cross Thurday, August 23, in the operation of an Emergency Shelter.

The long overdue update of the Police Department's Rules and Procedures, the first since 1964 during Mayor Conrad Teller's father's tenure as Police Chief, seems to have finally been completed.

Following setting Public Hearings and Resolutions for the September 6th Monthly Village Board Meeting, the Work Session closed at 7:26pm and an Executive Session was called for the purposes of discussing legal matters.

Fire District Informational Meeting

Westhampton Beach Fire Department shield

The Westhampton Beach Fire Commissioners hosted the first of several planned Informa­tional Meetings concerning what direction the District is considering in addressing the problems with the no longer serviceable 59-year-old Sunset Avenue Firehouse.

Shockingly, no one showed up other than a reporter, a blogger, another one-time Village Trustee candidate and a dispossessed Village official with a snootful and a querulous attitude.

(Two others slipped in after the meeting started.)

Following opening remarks by Fire Commission Chairman Fred Overton, a thorough presentation was made by Victor Canseco's crew from Sandpebble Builders... and there was no one there to hear it!

Villagers, neighbors and Fire District residents, c'mon!

This is about what sort of money... our money!... will be spent on an upgraded or new firehouse, and what sort of Bonded Indebtedness we're facing for the next 15-20 years!

It's your our money being discussed, and you can't turn off the Mets or Yankees game long enough to find out what's going on?

Silly buggers! When the property tax bill comes due, ask not about any increase, just ask your fool self what was so important August 22, 2012, that you couldn't haul yourself to this meeting!

Comments

1. Scarlett said...

Are you now the conscience of the community?

Hadn't considered that, but now that you mention it....smiley

Seriously, the most pressing question asked by one of the late-comers (not known to me) was about the weight room and the health spa she "heard" were going to be included in a new firehouse.

She neglected to mention where she "heard" this tidbit... Eckart's, Bun 'n' Burger or over the back fence.
– Dean

2. Michael Jacobs said...

Agreed... it's a shame more people did not take the opportunity to see the presentation by the Commissioners and Sandpebble. Their analysis has yielded three potential solutions to the shortcomings of the existing building. The fire department building dates back to the '50s with an ill-conceived and poorly constructed addition some years later. It is inefficient, undersized, outdated, crumbling and (the argument can be made) dangerous to those who use it. Our community deserves better. An upgrade of the existing facility or the design and construction of a new, modern, purpose-built facility will serve this community well for the next half century or more.

The meetings are purely informational and information gathering. None of the Commissioners, the Fire Department nor Sandpebble is married to any one solution but all agree a solution must be found. The questions and input of the members of the Fire Department and the community at large is invited. I believe that more public meetings will be scheduled and those that do pay the freight and benefit from the presence of a highly-trained and very dedicated volunteer fire department should take the opportunity. Sandpebble has prepared graphic evidence of the shortcomings, dangers, code issue, etc. associated with the current building. No one in the fire department, the Fire Commission or the community want or need a "palace." However this community needs an upgraded facility so, yes, please pay attention. Please come. Please question... but please, when the time comes, approve the plan that is presented. You have a voice.

Still trying to figure out the woeful lack of attendance last evening, and must conclude that...
  1. No one cares;
  2. Little minds are already made up:
    1. It's the Fire Department, they do a great job so let'em have whatever they want;
    2. Forget it! In this economy I'm not supporting anything that will raise my taxes!
  3. What meeting?
– Dean

3. Ray Overton said...

Dean:

First, thanks for publicizing this meeting. Even after the article in the Chronicle last week (it will always be the Chronicle to me), attendance was obviously lacking. I know the commissioners are really trying to obtain input from the public prior to putting this out to referendum and voters within the district should take advantage of this.

I'm still disgusted! The District voters will yack one-on-one about how the Fire Department members just want a new building so they can have their own gym and a spa, but they can't be bothered to move off their steatopygian butts to find out what's actually happening.
– Dean

4. Michael Jacobs said...

Yes, there is a weight room and a members' lounge in each plan. We have a weight room now in the old police building. Prior to that our workout equipment was set up in cramped space alongside one of the apparatus bays in the main house. The current weight room and the renovations to the police building that were necessary were done by members donating their time and expertise and with members' funds. Firefighting is strenuous work requiring a high state of fitness, stamina and strength. A proper weight room is not a luxury. It's a necessity.

A members' lounge is intended to be a comfortable place to gather and serves to attract members to congregate in the firehouse increasing participation and cutting down on response times. There is a members' lounge in the current facility and in virtually every other firehouse I know of.

There will not be any "health spas," ballrooms, mirrored barrooms, crystal chandeliers or anything of that sort. There should be classrooms, proper equipment storage, proper electric and mechanical, no leaks, sufficient clearances for today's apparatus and a proper dispatch/radio room... all lacking in the current facility.

Come on Westhampton Fire District voters – take the opportunity to get educated. Don't engage in spreading false rumors.

Well, no one needs to now, Mike.
Dean

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