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State of the Town: Supervisor Maps Out Road to Restoration

His plans include adjusting fuel costs, stopping open space purchases and more.

Southeast Supervisor Tony Hay is wasting no time getting to work in 2012 with a ton of changes, including an adjustment in meeting schedules.

Hay delivered his State of the Town address to Southeast residents at the last board meeting. He ran through a laundry list of policies he plans to implement, and then received a round of applause. Here are some of the items Hay included:

Declaration of a Fiscal Emergency

  • Hay says that he's working with a negative balance of more than $250,000. He attributed that figure to certain departments' declining revenues in 2011, noting a decline in tax collector fees, assessor fees, recreation fees, mortgage tax fees and more. Others — namely the town clerk's office, the supervisor's office, the town attorney, the town engineer, the facilities Department and the Justice Court — exceeded their budgets, in 2011. He chalked up some of these miscalculations to nothing more than "horrible budgeting."
  • He referenced Moody's "issuing a negative outlook for the Town’s bond and anticipation notes" and said the Highway Department "does not have a pittance" of what it needs to pave the town's roads, which are roughly 84 miles in total. Hay told fellow Board members and residents that the financial situation also makes it difficult to prepare schedules for road re-pavement and vehicle replacement.

Freeze on All Spending

  • Items that cost more than $100 will require his OK prior to purchase.
  • Certain purchases, such as emergency buys within the Highway Department, will be exempt.

Change in Overtime, Comp Time Policy

  • Both will require his OK, with the exception of Highway Department employees (which will require an OK from Superintendent Kevin Palmer).

Suspend Open Space Purchases for One Year

  • Hay says "Southeast taxpayers just can’t simply afford any more open space purchases at this time." 
  • He is calling for a public hearing on the matter.

Decrease Fuel Costs by Adjusting Buildings Around Town

  • Transporting certain temperature-sensitive pieces from the to other heated buildings in the winter, to allow for better regulation "of the electric heat on the first floor." The oil burner will also be shut off, which eliminates the need for fuel deliveries. Pipes on the second and third floors will be drained and toilets "winterized."
  • Permanently move the Town's from the office on Pumphouse Road to the located at 1 Main Street in the Village of Brewster. Hay said this is a safer, less-isolated spot for the employees who work in the department. The change, which is effective immediately, will also allow for a savings in fuel oil costs of approximately $5,000.

Establish Several Advisory Committees

  • The heads of each Southeast political party (Conservative, Democratic, Independent and Republican) will make up one of the committees. Its purpose will be to "sit as one and discuss the issues that our Town is facing. Their charge will be to come up with ideas on how to improve these issues." Because the Independent Party has no organization in Southeast, Hay will select a resident who is registered under that affiliation. He will also choose a non-affiliated voter to represent the "blanks" of Southeast — those who do not identify with a political party. 
  • Hay is hoping to create six additional committees. The second will be similar to the first, but the appointees will not be the heads of the committees. The other five rely on resident feedback — Hay is asking folks to send him a list of the five biggest issues they see in the Town by March 1, 2012 (email him at thay@southeast-ny.gov and state whether you'd like to be part of a committee). Once 20 people name the same problem, a committee will be devoted to that concern.

Utilize Outside Budget Consultant

  • After working with Al Bevacqua for years during his time on the Putnam County Legislature, Hay says he will employ the Southeast resident's advice on fiscal matters. The supervisor say Bevacqua, who served as a budget consultant for the Legislature, has volunteered to lend a hand at no cost to the Town.

Bottom Line

  • "In closing, over the next four years, my goal, insurmountable and improbable as it may seem in these difficult economic times, is to restore the Town’s credit rating, get the Town surplus to within 5 to 10 percent of our operating expenses and develop a road repaving schedule and a vehicle replacement schedule. It is a lofty goal, but we have four years to accomplish this."

One change Hay didn't mention in his address was a small change he's made in his office — a fresh coat of paint. During former Supervisor Michael Rights' run, the room was painted red. Now, thanks to town employees who used left-over paint, the space has undergone a facelift. The walls are now a light green. 

If you are a Southeast or Brewster resident, please take our poll, and feel free to add any additional information to the comments section below. Thanks for reading!

Trish January 14, 2012 at 12:10 PM
What will then happen to the recreation office on Pumphouse Rd? Will it become another shuttered building and a eventual eye sore? If left unattended and unused this will not benefit our community at all!
Terry Duignan January 14, 2012 at 12:42 PM
Road coming up to Brewster Hts is an isore, i.e. tree rubish in the lanscape; road ties need to be painted and fixed in an upright position; wiring hanging low; road cone in road for many months - hard to sell property if you don't have a pleasant approach to the neighborhood.
Donald A Mituzas January 14, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The only question I have in Mr. Hay's plan is the open space issue. The town purchased what I think is a worthless piece of land a few years ago. It sits next to noisy I84 of Rt 312 and the road to access it has a sign that says "Road Closed". We should bite the bullet and get rid of this land and put it back on the tax rolls. In the meantime, there is actually a nice piece of land of about 70 acres at the end of Nelson Blvd where you can walk right to the village and it has some open cleared land overlooking the Diverting Reservoir along Rt 22. That's where our money should have went. Dump the land next to I84 and buy this other property.
Ashley Tarr (Editor) January 14, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Great question, Trish. Here's some additional information: Hay said that while the department will be moved permanently, the building will be closed in the fall for the duration of the winter. The Town will reopen it in the spring "for various recreation programs."
Ashley Tarr (Editor) January 14, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Great points, Terry. Do you plan to include them in a list and send it to the supervisor?
Ashley Tarr (Editor) January 14, 2012 at 01:41 PM
Another great idea, Don. I have the same question for you — do you plan to share your concerns with Hay? According to his address, it takes 20 people per idea to form a committee.
Donald A Mituzas January 14, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Yes I do. I think he has a good plan to move Southeast in the right direction. Those who don't vote or voice their opinion shouldn't complain later on.
Martin Greenberg January 14, 2012 at 03:25 PM
If the school district will be abandoning the Garden Street school, perhaps it could be placed back on the tax rolls by changing its zoning status to allow for another use such as offices.
Peter Tringali January 14, 2012 at 05:43 PM
Whatever happened to the follow up for the contaminated well at pump house estates, as to who authorized it?, who is paying for it? and how?. Has any other testing be done to neighboring wells. I feel strongly the entire aquifer in which the contaminate well lies should be surveyed.... Just because the new wells are working does not mean this issue shouldnt be followed up. This one was surely swept under the rug, so while mister hay is at it.
Peter Tringali January 14, 2012 at 05:46 PM
I would like to clarify "Who authorized the chlorine originally." Also while i am at it Why did my assesment go up thrity five thousand dollars but I cant sell my house for seventyfive thousand less. Lets ask Ms Bell. I see her property went down in value. Want to buy another investment property in Southeast Ms .Bell
Trish January 14, 2012 at 07:14 PM
I am unaware of the location you mentioned . Could you please tell me what and where is the problem are you saying its on Pumphouse Road?
laurie bell January 15, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Mr. Tringali, please call my office or come in to discuss your assessment which we could have discussed in May 2011. The time to dispute your 2011 assessment has passed. I do not own any property in the Town of Southeast (check the public records). The Town of Southeast did a reappraisal in 2011 vs a trend so each property was reapraised; some properties saw an increase, some saw a decrease, some saw little or no change; this is typical in a reappraisal year (think back to when the County did the county-wide revaluation or when the Town did an updated reappraisal back in 2003 and/or 2007 I believe). The assessments are based on 100% of market value of the prior year (as per the State's regulations) and my office has sales of comparable sales by property type for residents to review each May. The new 2012 assessments will be made public May 1, 2012 and (like in the past 11 years) notices of changes in assessments will be mailed to each property owner on May 1.
Peter Tringali January 15, 2012 at 01:53 AM
My offer stands.... 40 thousand less than what you appraised it for. Please reflect its true value this year before they foreclose. . My apologies if what has been printed isnt the truth and I chose to believe it without confirming it. Hopeflly this Year my assesment will more honsetly reflect its true worth.

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