Government

By Samantha Rutt

The Town of Brookhaven board met on Thursday evening, Feb. 22. The meeting, held at Town Hall, in Farmingville, addressed matters ranging from proposed budget adjustments to zoning regulation changes and environmental concerns.

At each meeting, the board allows a section for public comments. Thursday evening saw many concerned residents speak before the board.

Up first, Lou Antonio, a Port Jefferson Station resident, addressed his concerns with a proposed development known locally as the Staller Project — a plan to build on the 49,400 square feet of commercial space located on Route 112 in Port Jefferson Station which includes restaurants, a proposed food hall and an estimated 280 apartments with a heavy skew toward one bedrooms. 

Antonio expressed concerns with the developers saying, “We have not heard from the Staller’s since the first time they came to our civic [Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Civic Association]. They have addressed this board stating they have made many concessions. They may have — we haven’t seen them. As far as we are concerned, it is the same exact architectural design that came in the first time, which is unacceptable for our community.” 

Antonio urged for open communication between developers and the community.

Following Antonio, another Port Jefferson Station resident, Paul Sagliocca, spoke before the board. Sagliocca noted his membership in the People of Port Jefferson Station Alliance, mentioning the organization’s receipt of 380 signatures supporting stronger traffic regulations to address communitywide concerns. He also mentioned the Friends of Lincoln Avenue committee and their continued concerns for traffic congestion. 

Sagliocca referred to the increased development in Port Jefferson Station, stating that he welcomes development if it is done right. “We’re basically here looking for a cohesive vision for Port Jefferson Station,” he said. “The community, the supervisor and our councilmember have all thought that the project is just bigger than what’s currently going on at the Port Jeff Station shopping center. We want this all-in-one cohesive unit. We welcome the redevelopment of this if it’s done right.”

In previous Port Jefferson Station civic meetings, Sagliocca had been an advocate for regulating traffic patterns as it concerns the potential developments. He continued advocating for traffic concerns and safety before the town board stating, “The Friends of Lincoln Avenue want to have traffic calming measures put in place so we can move on to projects that showcase what Port Jefferson Station truly is.” 

Gale Lynch-Bailey, an advocate for the Take Back 25 initiative and Middle Island Civic Association also spoke before the board. Bailey took the time to advocate for the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Safe Streets and Roads for All (SS4A) Grant Program — a program that provides funds for regional, local and tribal initiatives through grants to prevent roadway deaths and serious injuries. Currently, over $3 billion is still available for future funding rounds. 

Bailey called for the addition of sidewalks to several roads near her residential area in Coram, Middle Island and Gordon Heights. 

“It’s the perfect time for Brookhaven to apply for implementation grants for sidewalks along the parcels it owns on Middle Country Road,” Bailey said. “We have a broken patchwork of pedestrian safety along our Main Street, we rely on private developers to add sidewalks when they want to build a business there on the property that they own. We need to do the same with municipally owned parcels along our main business corridor. Open space is wonderful, but pedestrians still deserve the ability to walk safely along Middle Country Road.” 

Also speaking before the board was John McNamara, an environmentalist and Brookhaven resident. McNamara spoke about recycle and save programs with special regard to low-income people. McNamara presented research he has personally conducted providing ways to reduce waste as well as to be more cost effective in doing so. 

“Various municipalities have come up with solutions like, number one, they can reduce the poor household waste collection charges for eligible residents by a set amount. Secondly, they can offer a percentage discount. Thirdly, they can provide a credit on the overall bill.” McNamara continued listing several other ways to best reduce the burden on low-income residents. 

Following the public comment segment, Supervisor Dan Panico (R) addressed some of the issues discussed during this section. 

“We hear you. We understand the issues associated with Lincoln Avenue and the problems coming off of New York State DOT, ” Panico said. “I have been in conversation with [county Legislator] Steve Englebright (D-Setauket) trying to get the DOT to make that switch on Terryville Road, which will hopefully alleviate a lot of the issues.” 

To see more from this meeting please visit the town’s website, brookhavenny.portal.civicclerk.com. 

Signs displayed along the roadside on 25A in Setauket. Photo by Samantha Rutt

By Serena Carpino

Recent debates about road signage removal along Route 25A have sparked controversies between small business owners and local politicians. Specifically, town officials have reached out to store owners in Old School House Square in East Setauket, requesting that road signs be removed. Some owners have taken down their signs, but others disagree, saying that it is unnecessary. 

Signs displayed along the roadside on 25A in Setauket. Photo by Samantha Rutt

“My sign has been there for 13 years, there’s never been a problem,” one local business owner explained. “When I had the sign first installed, I was very cognizant of the history, nature and culture of our community. The sign is a wooden sign that absolutely conforms to the aesthetics of the Three Village community, it is a small, classy-looking sign that should offend no one.”

According to the owner, many businesses have struggled since the pandemic, and street signs are a crucial part of attracting customers.

“Business is difficult these days for small retailers like me,” he said. “Artificially inflated inventory costs, competition from Amazon, increased utility costs are just a few of the hardships that small business people must endure.” 

He added, “A street sign is an essential part of any business. It attracts new business, it reminds customers that you are there and it acts as a beacon, letting the world know who you are and what you do. It is essential to the success of my small business.”

Town councilmember addresses the issue

Signs displayed along the roadside on 25A in Setauket. Photo by Samantha Rutt

At the latest Three Village Civic Association meeting Feb. 5, Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) addressed the issue. “I hate driving through Main Street, like around Mario’s, that area [Old School House Square],” he said. “You know, there is no greater negative impact on — as far as the creation of visual blight and the way a neighborhood looks — than signage.”

He explained that when he tried to confront the issue, he discovered many exceptions to the town code, causing it to be virtually unenforceable. To combat the problem, Kornreich said the town is hiring an outside counsel to create a new sign code. 

Kornreich also admitted that some business owners would be upset with this decision. “I’ve already started getting letters from some of them,” he said. “I’m going to pay a price for that, but you’ve got to get the signs under control.”

NYS Assemblyman Ed Flood

By Ed Flood

As the legislative session and negotiations continue toward the 2024-25 New York State Budget, there are several policies my colleagues and I have proposed that we believe would better cater to our hardworking citizens throughout the state. New York ranks second for the highest budget in the nation, making it difficult to fathom any tax increases on families or funding cuts in essential areas to make up for other state spending programs. 

In her State of the State address in January, Gov. Kathy Hochul [D] highlighted her proposal of an additional $2.4 billion in funding for supporting migrants. This would pull $500 million from state reserve funds. To address the migrant issue, New York City has already provided housing and food for approximately 170,000 asylum seekers with no end goal in sight.

This is not about immigration, but a major public safety and financial concern. Back in September 2023, my colleagues and I called for an emergency special session to consider adopting a bundle of policies that would efficiently monitor the migrants entering New York City and ensure background checks are completed to prevent violent criminals from entering our state. Unfortunately, that request was denied, leading us to the financial cliff on which New York is balancing. 

At the same time, Gov. Hochul proposed to potentially end the “hold harmless” provision for foundation aid in school funding assistance, threatening the loss of major state school aid. This reckless proposal would create significant funding cuts to schools across the state, weakening their opportunities for extracurricular activities and causing potential staff layoffs. The proposed budget shows an increase in educational aid but major cuts to many rural and suburban districts, which is what we are seeing now. 

Rather than using taxpayer dollars on a federal issue that should be handled by the president, we are using a major portion of our state budget on the migrant crisis and taking money away from our children’s education. With a $234 billion budget, $6 billion more than last year, no school should lose funding. What are our priorities when we allocate $2.4 billion from our general fund to pay for the self-inflicted migrant crisis and cut funding to rural and suburban districts from that same general fund? The money is in front of us, yet it is spent in other areas of the state. 

As we continue our work in Albany, it is crucial that we remove these irrational proposals in the final budget and that our children’s education must be prioritized to ensure they are equipped for bright futures ahead. 

Please contact me any time if you have any questions or concerns at 631-751-3094 or by email at [email protected].

Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) represents the 4th Assembly District, which includes parts of Suffolk County, including portions of the Town of Brookhaven and the villages of Old Field, Poquott, Belle Terre, Port Jefferson and Lake Grove.

The New York State Capitol building, located in Albany. Photo by formulanone from Wikimedia Commons

By Lisa Scott

Every year the League of Women Voters of New York State provides members with key information on issues of interest to us. The 2024-2025 state budget is currently under debate in the NYS Legislature and local Leagues are asked to lobby our state Senators and Assembly Members on pre-budget issues before late March since the budget deadline is April 1. The non-budget stand-alone bills are considered in committees and on floors during session in late Apr. and the Legislative session ends on June 1.

In 2024 we are concentrating pre-budget on funding for county boards of elections, election reforms, funding for the public campaign finance board, an expansion of the bottle bill, education financing and fair pay for home care. Post-budget, we will focus on LWV priority issues relating to good government, criminal justice reform, rural issues, healthcare, women’s issues, and environmental issues.

Our pre-budget lobbying requests include:

Elections and Good Government: Keeping $114.5M to support the NYS Public Campaign Finance Program and $8.1M to support the Commission on Ethics and Lobbying in Government, and add $10M in funds directed to County Boards of Elections, $4.5M to implement the Doctor John L. Flateau Voting and Elections Database and Academic Center of New York Act and $51,000 for a voter list maintenance organization like ERIC.

Environment: include the Bigger Better Bottle Bill (S237/A6353) in their one house budgets as well as in the final budget.

Education Financing: We strongly oppose Governor Hochul’s recent decision to alter the formula that is used to distribute aid to school districts. The changes made in her proposed budget will significantly reduce foundation aid to nearly half of all school districts in the state. The Executive altered both the Consumer Price Index methodology and the policy of reducing aid to no district year to year. As a result, nearly half of school districts will be forced to reduce their 2024-25 school budgets or raise local taxes. They will have no time for planning if the budget is not finalized until the end of March 2024. We are asking that the Governor amend her proposal and reinstate full funding to our schools and that the Senate and Assembly do not include this change in their one house budgets.

Healthcare: We ask that Legislators reject Governor Hochul’s proposal to cut $2.55 an hour from home care workers in the consumer directed personal assistance program (CDPAP) and pass the Fair Pay for Home Care Act (S3189/A8821) in the budget.

Other League lobbying later this spring will focus on:

Ethics and Campaign Finance Reform – Public Campaign Finance Board: The League strongly supports the $114.5M allocated for the Public Campaign Finance Board. This year is the first opportunity for New York to demonstrate a commitment to campaign finance reform and reducing the influence of big money in politics. During the 2022 election, the 200 biggest donors outspent over 200,000 small donors in state races. This groundbreaking state program will ensure that New Yorkers’ voices are heard throughout the political process. The funding for this program included in the Executive Budget will ensure that it can help level the playing field, amplify the voices of small donors, and reduce the impact of wealthy special interest groups in New York. We urge the Legislature to include the full $114.5M in the Senate and Assembly one house budgets.

Funding to County Boards of Election: Elections are often the last item on the list when it comes to county budgets and many county boards operate with limited resources. The League urges the Legislature to seriously consider the cost of new election improvements when introducing their proposed budgets and to consider setting up a yearly fund specifically for implementing election reforms at the local level.

The League was glad to see that funds were specifically allocated for local boards of elections to invest in new electronic pollbooks ($14.7 M), to cover the cost of absentee and early vote by mail ballot postage ($7.7M). However, there are still limited funds available for educating voters, poll worker training, staffing, and the establishment of new sites to comply with current mandates. It is not possible for boards to continue to expand voting access without funds devoted to these measures. We ask that a minimum of an additional $10M in funding be allocated to county boards of elections so that they may make the upgrades necessary and hire the staff necessary to effectively run our elections in 2024. This is consistent with the bipartisan proposal submitted by election commissioners across New York State.

All voters should consider discussing the above issues with your NYS Assembly and Senate representatives. Educate yourself, your voice matters. 

Lisa Scott is president of the League of Women Voters of Suffolk County a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more information, visit https//my.lwv.org/new-york/suffolk-county.

Photo courtesy Ed Flood's Facebook page

By Aramis Khosronejad

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “in 2022 U.S. greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,341.2 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents, and 5,487.0 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents after accounting for sequestration from the land sector.” In the wake of these statistics, New York State has been searching for a way to help decrease these concerning figures.

As an aid to the process, New York’s governor, Kathy Hochul (D), presented a new mandate this past September. The state mandate will require zero-emission new school bus purchases by 2027 and for school districts to operate zero-emission school buses only by 2035.

Although on the surface the use of electric vehicles seems like an efficient and smart way of reducing our greenhouse gas contribution to the global community, there are some drawbacks and consequences that state Assemblyman Ed Flood (R-Port Jefferson) as well as other state politicians have pointed out. 

Local state senators, Assembly members, fire safety and school officials gathered Feb. 25 at Levittown bus depot to a “Push the Brakes” rally on the state’s electric school bus mandate.

Flood categorized the conflicts that could arise with this new mandate in two simple categories: economic issues and the alarming lack of reliability. 

According to Flood, we need only look at the numbers to be able to reach the conclusion that the economic setbacks of a mandate such as this would be potentially devastating to the academic capabilities of many school districts within New York state. To successfully and fully implement these zero-emission buses it would take “roughly $20 billion” to do so, he said.

Flood and other elected officials have also been vocal regarding the proposed state-aid school budget cuts listed in the governor’s budget proposal earlier this year. School districts will have to cut programs, camps and other academic activities and opportunities for districts whose budgets would be affected by these cuts. 

Additionally, Flood has a concern for an increase in taxes if the bus mandate were to be carried through — he said that taxes in New York are already extreme without the addition of this new bus expenditure. Also, there has to be consideration for the cost of the establishment of charging stations for the buses, compounded by the stations’ running costs. 

Another heavy consequence of the implementation of these new fleets of buses, and what Flood argues is significantly more important, is the question of their reliability. The most important question for Flood is “What steps are we taking to ensure the safety of our children and these bus drivers?” 

It has already been observed in cities where e-buses are already in place such as San Francisco and Chicago that their batteries have problems with severe temperature fluctuations. Flood points out how the EV batteries can die quickly and may not prove efficient. In addition, EV batteries are prone to catch fire and are notoriously difficult to put out. If this were to happen while one of the buses was in use, Flood claimed that we’d be “looking at the loss of lives.” 

Flood provided a potential solution to these doubts over bus batteries by bringing up the idea that “having a backup system in place could address this issue” even if this backup uses carbon. “We need a more powerful EV source than the one we have,” he said.

The main belief that Flood carried was “not saying we shouldn’t be aiming for these goals but we’re trying so hard to be the global leaders in EV that we’re looking over the health and safety concerns that it’s going to cause to all these communities.” 

According to Flood, if there were a delay to this mandate, there would be sufficient time for all these concerns to be addressed and handled properly. Then, zero-emission buses would be safe to push into New York school districts, and we could do our part in making sure our planet suffers a little less. 

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (at podium) joined labor leaders, builders, elected officials and more to announce a historic agreement that implements safety training standards on large construction sites. Photo from TOB

On February 22, Brookhaven Town Supervisor Dan Panico (at podium) joined labor leaders, builders, elected officials and more to announce a historic agreement that implements safety training standards on large construction sites.

Construction is a dangerous industry, representing an estimated 25 percent of all of workplace fatalities nationwide. In New York, annual statistics show that a construction worker is killed once every six days on jobsites statewide. In an effort to increase safety in construction across Long Island, industry leaders have agreed upon minimum safety training standards for all workers employed at construction sites over 35k sq/ft. Pictured are New York State Senator and Plumbers Local 200 Business Agent Mario Matera (first left of center in yellow vest); Town of Brookhaven Deputy Supervisor/Councilman Neil Foley (first right of center) and Town of Brookhaven Councilman Michael Loguercio, (second right of center) also spoke at the press conference.

The legislation, which was adopted at the Town of Brookhaven’s February 22 Town Board meeting, requires all workers to have an OSHA 30 certification at jobsites over 35k sq/ft., and also that there be a Site Safety Supervisor at jobsites over 75k sq/ft., to further ensure accountability and increased safety standards on complex construction projects.

Brookhaven Town Supervisor Daniel J. Panico said, “Today’s announcement marks the culmination of talks between the Town, the development community and labor.  It is proof that an effective thoughtful compromise can be struck when people sit down and talk to each other as opposed to at each other. I thank everyone involved in bringing us to this day, where the Town Board is expected to pass this law this evening at our public hearing.”

“As certified OSHA instructor, safety is first and foremost the number one priority for the members I represent”, stated Laborers Local 66 Vice President Vinny Alu. “Far too many workers are killed on construction sites simply because they are not provided the necessary safety training to do the job safely. An OSHA 30 certification is the minimum training any worker should be required to have before entering a dangerous construction site. I want to thank the Long Island Builders Institute and Supervisor Panico for working with us to address workplace safety. This will undoubtedly save lives.”

The law will require permit holders for large construction sites to ensure that their General Contractors and Subcontractors have a trained workforce, and that proof of each worker’s OSHA 30 certification will be documented and available upon the Town’s request.

Mike Florio, CEO, Long Island Builders Institute said, “On any jobsite, worker safety is first and foremost a priority and this agreement establishes a baseline standard for all construction projects.  Our goal is to see this standard adopted from one end of Long Island to the other, which will raise the floor for worker training and safety.  We thank Supervisor Panico and the town board for addressing this important issue and the Laborers Local 66 and Nassau Suffolk Building Trades for working together to craft this historic agreement.”

“Organized labor began with a focus on safety for workers on the jobsite,” stated Matthew Aracich, President of the Nassau Suffolk Building and Construction Trades Council. “Today’s announcement has strengthened the core of those labor standards for the Long Island workforce. I commend the efforts of Laborers Local 66 and the Town of Brookhaven to adopt this policy for all jobsites. Having an alignment with representatives of the Long Island Builders Institute and Association for Better Long Island means the Building Trades Council and affiliates care equally about worker’s interests.”

“We would like to applaud Supervisor Panico, the Brookhaven Town Board, and all of their colleagues across Long Island who are committed to passing this measure,” stated Ryan Stanton, Executive Director of the Long Island Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO. “The importance and value of a uniform safety standard on construction sites across Long Island cannot be overstated. The construction industry is dangerous by nature, and the requirement of an OSHA30 training standard is vital to ensuring all workers get to return home to their families at the end of the day. It’s been nothing short of amazing working in collaboration with our affiliates, contractors, development community, and local elected officials to deliver a safety policy that we all agree on and are excited about.”

Failure to comply with the law can result in fines of $1,000 and up to $10,000 for each day violations are found. Qualified third-party safety persons or entities that can provide certifications are permitted to be used to confirm compliance with the requirements.

Other union and labor officials who attended the press conference were Matthew Aracich, President Nassau Suffolk Building Trades Council; Ryan Stanton, Executive Director Long Island Federation of Labor; Vinny Alu, Vice President Laborers Local 66; Tim McCarthy, IBEW Local 25 Business Representative; Ray Fester, DC9 Painters Business Agent; Brian Kearney Jr., President SteamFitters Local 638; Mike Bourgal, Teamsters Local 282 Business Agent; and Robert Wilson, Operating Engineers Local 30.

By Aidan Johnson

Three out of the four Democratic congressional candidates for District 1 — Nancy Goroff, Kyle Hill and Craig Herskowitz — attended a meet-the-candidates night at the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee headquarters Tuesday, Feb. 6. During the meeting, the candidates addressed why they are running, their most important issues and policies they would support. The fourth candidate, former District 5 state Sen. James Gaughran [D-Northport], was unable to attend. The current congressional seat is held by Nick LaLota (R).

Introductions

Goroff, who has formerly served as the chair of the chemistry department at Stony Brook University, and previously ran for the congressional seat in 2020 against former Congressman Lee Zeldin (R), said that she was running “to protect our right to bodily autonomy” and “to build an economy that’s going to work for everybody,” along with environmental issues such as coastal erosion, climate change and water quality.

Herskowitz has interned for Sen. Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy (D) and Rep. Steve Israel (D). The candidate believes that his “judicial, legislative and executive experience, as well as criminal prosecution and criminal defense experience,” which includes him working at the Office of the General Counsel in the U.S. Marshals Service, the FBI and the Department of Justice, before being appointed as assistant counsel to Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), before working as a criminal defense attorney and being appointed as an administrative law judge within the New York City Department of Finance, will allow him to connect with the congressional district. 

Hill went to graduate school at Stony Brook University, after which he worked for Israel on Capitol Hill, where he “became a health care policy expert.” He worked on rallying congressional support to update the organ transplant rules, and since coming back to Long Island, he has become a volunteer EMT and is involved with the Brookhaven Town Democratic Committee. He has become frustrated “every single day with [Congress’s] dysfunction,” and believes that by winning the CD1 seat, along with gaining a Democratic majority, Congress can function better. 

Health care

Hill would support passing the Social Security 2100 Act, which, among other things, would change the current law that caps earnings subject to the Social Security tax which, at the time the bill was introduced, was $160,200, but now stands at $168,600, to instead have earnings over $400,000 once again be subjected to the tax. However, all earnings in between would not be subject to the tax. He also said that it is necessary to build upon incentives for doctors and health care agencies to keep folks healthy and out of the hospital

Herskowitz said that he was “the only candidate in this race that’s supporting Medicare for All” and said that “we need to make sure people are paying their fair share of taxes,” and that “people that are damaging our environment are paying more for our health care system because they are the ones who are polluting our water, polluting our air.” He also said that “we need to find ways to ensure that Social Security is available to everyone.”

Goroff called Social Security and Medicare “two of our most successful government programs ever.” She said that it is necessary to “lift the cap on salary at which we take Social Security taxes,” adding, “That one change would make Social Security and Medicare both financially secure going into the future.” She also said that the age to receive Medicare should be reduced. 

Voter engagement

Herskowitz said that it is important to fight against misinformation, activate the voters and get people excited to vote, adding that a strong grassroots campaign was necessary to make sure “every single voter is touched, several times throughout the campaign, to make sure that people come out to vote.” He also said that it was necessary to appeal to the moderate center voters.

Hill said that “we’ve seen cycle over cycle that the Democrats who are coming out to vote have become fewer and fewer and more folks are registering as unaffiliated,” adding that it was necessary to figure out why they are not coming out to vote, and that it was necessary to have a message that brings out both Democrats and those in the middle. He said that Democrats need to lean into their strengths, citing issues such as infrastructure, drug pricing reform and the cost-of-living crisis.

Goroff said that in order to get people to vote who don’t automatically do so, or who vote for either a Democrat or a Republican, “it’s not about the issues, it’s about them believing that this person is going to represent them.” She said that she is committed to making sure voters know who she is as a person, educator and community leader, adding that it matters that they know they would have someone working hard for them “versus somebody who is just spewing talking points.”

Climate change

Hill said that he supports changing every car that the federal government owns to an electric vehicle, including from government agencies such as the post office. “We can use the purchasing power of the federal government to shape the market and make EVs more available, bringing down the price, make it more accessible, have more charging stations everywhere, and that’s something the federal government directly controls and already has its hands on,” he added.

Herskowitz said that it was necessary to move away from fossil fuels and invest in technologies that could remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere and nitrate from the soil and ground that leaks into the water. He also said that it was important to combat misinformation surrounding renewable energy.

Goroff said that the United States should be carbon neutral in energy production by 2035, and in transportation and buildings, along with the rest of the economy, by 2050. She supports the Inflation Reduction Act, which would invest in clean energy: “We need to be investing in clean energy and technologies now, making sure that we’re having proper oversight, and investing in new technologies for the future.”

Immigration

Goroff said that DACA recipients need a pathway to citizenship, and that it’s important to recognize the challenges for communities in getting resources for large numbers of migrants and nonnative English speakers. “The only way we can deal with that fairly is for the federal government to make sure that for school districts, like in Riverhead where they have very large numbers of nonnative speakers of English, that they’re getting adequate funding for those programs,” she said.

Herskowitz said that the vast majority of people who are in this country illegally do so by coming here legally and overstaying their visas, and clarified that coming to the border and requesting asylum is 100% legal, adding that more judges are needed to adjudicate asylum claims. “The migrants that are here want to work, and they should be able to work, and we should be able to expedite [that] so they can work, they can pay taxes, they can contribute to the economy,” he said, adding that comprehensive immigration reform was needed because “obviously the immigration system is broken.”

Hill said that it is necessary to address what’s causing the issues, “which is the rampant gang violence in Central America. Part of all of these comprehensive solutions has been greater investment in our southern neighbors to make sure there’s economic development [and] a reason to stay in their home.” He added, “Every time these comprehensive packages don’t end up happening, those things get left off the table.” He also said the budget, which Congress has yet to pass, would be an opportunity to address the concerns by “more appropriately [targeting] our foreign aid,” and better funding for the Department of Justice “so that judges can adjudicate asylum claims so that folks can enter society and be part of the society.”

The Democratic primary is on June 25. 

The Town of Smithtown Municipal Services Facility has grown programming and services for the 2024 calendar year, geared towards saving residents money while repurposing materials.

The newest program has people hitting pedal to the metal, quite literally with the Smithtown Bicycle Co-op. Residents can now upcycle their bicycles for a good cause, when they drop off bikes to Municipal Services Facility (MSF.) Last month MSF employees delivered seventeen bikes to Smithtown Bicycle Co-op, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization located at FlowerField (Unit 18) in St James. The organization fixes up and provides free bikes, classes and access to repair tools, promoting health, safety, education & the concept of “paying it forward” through Recycling, Education and Community. Residents can drop off used bicycles free of charge at MSF during regular hours.

Residents can also unload “plastic film” products such as shipping bags, grocery bags, bubble wrap, dry cleaning bags, zip-loc bags, produce bags, etc. The plastic film will be repurposed through NexTrex Recycling to produce various products such as recycled composite lumber.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island Clothing & Textile Bins are now located at MSF. Clothing and other textiles may be dropped off at these bins during regular business hours.  There is no charge however, donation receipts are not provided.

Back and Better for 2024

The crew at Smithtown’s Municipal Services Facility will continue extracting and setting aside construction materials, lumber, doors, & windows that can be repurposed/reused by residents. Items are sorted and displayed on the west side of the recycling building. This practice has become especially important as the town looks for ways to minimize construction disposal costs, increase recycling and save residents money. There is no fee for this service and materials are available on a first come first service basis.

Curbside No No’s

Construction materials cannot be disposed of with regular household trash for collection by the Town or your garbage carter. All construction materials must be disposed of at the Town’s Municipal Services Facility at 85 Old Northport Road, Kings Park (269-6600) for a fee. Residents can also make arrangements with contractors to dispose of construction debris properly.

Upcoming Free Events at MSF:

The 2024 Free Household Hazardous Waste collection events are scheduled for Saturdays: April 20th, July 13th and October 5th from 7AM-3PM.

The 2024 Free Paper Shredding events are scheduled for Saturdays: May 4th & Oct. 19th, from 9AM-3PM. Limit: 3 File Boxes per vehicle.

Both events (rain or shine) are held at the Smithtown Municipal Services Facility in Kings Park. Receive a $5 Home Depot card at all three Household Hazardous Waste events for safely disposing recyclable batteries, propane tanks and mercury containing devices.

HOURS: Monday – Saturday: 7:00AM to 3:15PM

The Town of Smithtown Municipal Services Facility is located at 85 Old Northport Road, in Kings Park 

Brookhaven Town Hall in Farmingville

By Aramis Khosronejad

The Town of Brookhaven meeting on Feb. 1 was a two-hour stint. As is traditional during these meetings, an award was presented. Zariel Macchia, a 17-year-old junior at William Floyd High School, was presented with an award for her plethora of athletic accomplishments as a runner on the school’s cross-country team. 

Following the brief ceremony, Supervisor Dan Panico (R) opened the meeting with a few words of reflection. The supervisor began by saying how “change is difficult”’ and concluded with the empathetic sentiment, “before criticizing a man, you should walk a mile in his shoes.” 

There were no reports for the board, and with that a brief period passed in which several agenda items were considered. 

For general public comments, there were two speakers, both of whom talked about environmental issues further commenting on the cleanliness of Brookhaven in regard to the environment. 

To begin the public comments was Joshua Schultzer, a senior from William Floyd High School, and he was followed was John McNamara. Panico responded to the public comment presentations, “It’s nice to see two people from clearly two different generations who want to do good for the place in which we live and the planet on which we live.”

After the public comments, some of the resolutions discussed were:

  • Councilman Neil Manzella (R-Selden) presented the first resolution of 2024, which is the implementation of a street name change in place of Smith Road in Ronkonkoma in honor of Matthew “Dezy” DiStefano. He was a much loved figure who was a teacher at Sachem High School, and passed away due to cancer. 
  • Resolution authorizing accepting a donation of $550 from Centereach Civic Association. 
  • Resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds to improve Port Jefferson Marina for $864,103. 
  • A series of 10 resolutions were discussed, all of which authorized the purchase of different properties to deal with the problem of runoff and rainwater. Panico explained that this is an ongoing problem across many districts within the town. 
  • Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook) declared the month of February to be American Heart Awareness Month in Brookhaven.  
  • Resolution seeking to provide sand to Davis Park on Fire Island as well as other parks. Councilwoman Karen Dunne Kesnig (R-Manorville) was concerned about the large storms being experienced and the dunes that have been erased. Brookhaven has to take measures to protect Fire Island because if not, “we might not have a Fire Island.” 

For more information on this meeting, the live stream is available at: brookhavenny.portal.civicclerk.com/event/2631/media.

 

Photo from Councilmember Kornreich's office

By Samantha Rutt

Residents gathered at the Setauket Fire Station on Main Street Feb. 5 for the Three Village Civic Association’s first meeting of the calendar year. The meeting agenda featured a presentation by local Town of Brookhaven Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook). The event served as a platform for the councilmember to provide vital updates on community projects, initiatives and future plans, while eliciting engagement and feedback from attendees.

With a focus on transparency and community involvement, the meeting kicked off with an overview of ongoing and upcoming projects aimed at enhancing the quality of life for residents across Three Village. Kornreich mentioned the emergence of a “Founder’s Park” to be constructed near 25A and Gnarled Hollow Road. The park, still in its infancy planning stage, would be set on the presumed landing place of Setauket’s founders. In the park would feature a playground, to be donated by a local family currently fundraising, as well as the historic Roe Tavern, eventually to be relocated to the park’s assumed location. While still in the early stages, the park plans to serve as a place for the community to gather and celebrate its rich history.

Among the key topics discussed was the progress of various infrastructure projects, including sewer system infrastructure. The councilmember emphasized the importance of prioritizing infrastructure investments to ensure the safety and well-being of residents while fostering economic growth and development.

Kornreich explained the necessity of more wastewater infrastructure within the bounds of his district, primarily along 25A. The councilmember further clarified that the installation of sewers and their intended placement is simply theoretical at the moment.

“In theory, the purpose of the sewer study is to determine the feasibility of running a sewer line from the university all down 25A, including Stony Brook village, and connecting to the Port Jeff STP [sewage treatment plant],” he said.

The potential installation of this sewer system would enhance environmental protection for the Three Village community. 

Additionally, attendees were briefed on community related initiatives, including changes to signage displayed along the roadside, the Commercial Redevelopment District legislation, the abolition of both Town of Brookhaven’s accessory apartment and planning boards, and the Highway Department’s upgrades. 

During his presentation, Kornreich laid out the improvements to local highways sharing that the Highway Department will soon install new antique lighting along 25A over the next two years. The department also plans to combat consistent flooding seen along Dyke Road by pitching and adjusting the roadway accounting for overflow of water. 

Kornreich also mentioned the town’s Community Choice Aggregation program, helping the community to understand the realities and complexities of this program. The program’s goal is to help residents who use natural gas to save by opting for a fixed rate. Kornreich explained that all town residents were automatically opted into this program, though since the adoption the National Grid rates have come in under that of the fixed rate. 

“I realize that it’s not a good deal at the moment because the National Grid price, which fluctuates, has on average been much lower than the fixed CCA price since the inception of the CCA,” Kornreich explained. “You can opt in and out of the CCA whenever you want.”

Throughout the presentation, attendees had the opportunity to engage with the councilmember, asking questions and providing feedback on specific projects and initiatives. The interactive nature of the meeting facilitated meaningful dialogue.

As a former president of the civic association, Kornreich expressed his gratitude in connecting with residents and sharing updates on the ongoing efforts to enhance the community. He emphasized the ready availability of his office and staff, calling on residents to stay informed and actively participate in shaping the future of Three Village. 

For those unable to attend the meeting, information and updates on the community and related civic association matters can be found at www.3vcivic.org.