Town of Huntington Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci and Deputy Supervisor, Councilman Ed Smyth have announced the Town’s second spray park, at Manor Field Park in Huntington Station, will open in late Spring 2022.
“The Manor Field Spray Park along with the new amenities we have coming soon are exciting steps in our plan to revitalize Huntington Station,” said Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci.
“In the spring of 2022, the children of Huntington Station will have this first-class spray park in their backyard, along with a brand-new playground and new turf field that athletes of all ages can enjoy,” said Deputy Supervisor Councilman Ed Smyth.
At its February 11, 2020 meeting, the Huntington Town Board approved, by a 4-1 roll call vote, $750,000 in funding to build a spray park at Manor Field Park, part of Supervisor Chad A. Lupinacci’s plans for the revitalization of Huntington Station.
At their September 15, 2020 meeting, the Town Board authorized the Supervisor to apply for up to $189,000 in New York State and Municipal Facilities Capital Program grant funding for the Manor Field Spray Park Playground project, one of the requirements for the grant funding was a 100% park-type use of the site of the project.
Councilman Ed Smyth sponsored a resolution appropriating $200,000 in funds to complete the spray park project at the September 14, 2021 Town Board meeting that will be returned to the fund balance if the grant funding is approved.
In Spring and Summer 2021, preparations for the new playground and spray park included the replacement of the synthetic turf field at Manor Field Park, under which the previous septic system leaching pools for both the comfort station and community building were located. The sanitary system was replaced to handle the additional septic and water usage the spray park would bring. Both the sanitary permit and water permit took several months to obtain approvals.
The old playground at Manor Field Park was slated for demolition in September 2021 but due to safety issues the old equipment presented, the Department of General Services demolished the playground in late August 2021. Construction on a new playground and the new Manor Field Spray Park will start in the coming weeks and will take approximately two months to complete. The spray park will officially open in Spring 2022.
Attached: Renderings of the Manor Field Spray Park and Playground.
The Huntington Town Board has unanimously voted to hold two public forums on the proposed settlement with the Long Island Power Authority. The decision pushes a vote on the matter to Sept. 29, more than a month after LIPA’s Aug.11 deadline.
The passed resolution calls for a public hearing Sept.16. The Town Board added a second scheduled date Aug. 10, the day before LIPA’s deadline, to be held at Heckscher Park. Both forums will be available on Zoom.
Town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) said the amendment that would call for a vote on the settlement in late September.
“I think it’s good that we are inviting the public to put their thoughts on the record, this is the most serious court case since 1653,” he said, alluding to the year the town was founded, at a July 21 town meeting. “If we go forward with scheduling these two [forums], we [should] schedule a vote on the settlement offer so LIPA knows we are not disregarding any timetables … that they know all parties involved are serious and we are vetting this agreement out.”
Town Councilwoman Joan Cergol (D) supported the move to add a September vote on the settlement.
“We’ll have two bites at the apple to be able to host public forums as the supervisor is suggesting, so that we don’t end up getting this settlement pulled from the table,” she said.
Town Councilmen Edmund Smyth (R) and Mark Cuthbertson (D) both raised questions about LIPA’s deadline.
“I was under the impression that LIPA’s counsel gave us a drop deadline date in August, and that there was not going to be any settlement offer left on the table after that date,” Smyth said. “Has there been any communication with them that they’ve agreed to extend that date?”
Lupinacci said there hadn’t been communication with LIPA but was hopeful that if the authority saw that the town had a timetable for a vote that they would extend the deadline date.
“Hopefully we can go back to them and say, ‘Look, we’re going to vote [on this],’” he said. “By at least setting this date we can go back to LIPA and say we have this August public hearing, we have a September public hearing and a scheduled vote soon after.”
The proposed deal, which was approved by the Northport-East Northport school board earlier this month, would reduce LIPA’s annual tax bill on the Northport power plant from $86 million to $46 million by 2027. The tax impact on residents would be lessened compared to the implications of a verdict in LIPA’s favor.
Owners of a $500,000 house paying $10,861 in taxes would see their tax bill increase to $13,741 in the seventh year of the agreement. Annual increases for residents would go from an additional $288 a year in the first year to $556 a year by year seven, according to John Gross, an attorney for the school district.
Gross said if LIPA was to win the lawsuit and was able to achieve a 75 percent reduction in assessed evaluation “that taxpayer [of a $500,000 home] would immediately have to pay $3,723, in addition to the refund liability that could range from $12,000 to $13,000.” If the authority were able to secure a reduction of 90 percent, those figures would increase significantly.
At the July 21 meeting, the Town Board also approved a measure to retain the Manhattan office of Mercury Public Affairs for public outreach related to the LIPA tax case.
LIPA did not respond to request for comments by press time.
Both agreed that the LIPA lawsuit needs to be thoroughly investigated and every possible stone turned over in looking for a solution. However, it is a problem bigger than any single board member. Whoever fills the seat will have a voice, and one of five votes on a highly divided council, in what happens to the future
development of Huntington.
Cergol, as the town’s former director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, comes with a lot of experience in this area and spoke of the necessity to strike a balance between smart growth, addressing housing needs and requiring developers to provide parking.
Leonick has campaigned against overdevelopment, but didn’t offer any original ideas. He decries the need for increased government transparency, as he did in his 2017 campaign, but only offered that he supported town forums.
We support Cergol on the fact she helps keep the town board politically balanced — it is currently made up of two Republicans, two Democrats and one Independent — while bringing a woman’s viewpoint and a wealth of background experience in community building.
We do think, if elected, she makes good on her and Leonick’s proposal of holding regular town hall forums.
There’s a hot race for a one-year term on Huntington Town Board that could tip the scale of the council’s political leaning.
Incumbent Joan Cergol (D) is a lifelong Huntington resident who was appointed in December 2017 to the seat vacated by former councilwoman Susan Berland, who was elected to the Suffolk County Legislature. She previously served as the town’s director of the Huntington Community Development Agency, executive director of the Economic Development Corp. and executive director of the Local Development Corp.
Republican challenger Jim Leonick should be familiar name with Nov. 6 voters. The East Northport attorney unsuccessfully campaigned for Town Board as a running mate with Supervisor Chad Lupinacci (R) in 2017, coming up just short by less than 650 votes. Now he’s back, seeking to fill the remaining year of Berland’s term.
“I’ve heard more and more complaints of things wrong with the town,” Leonick said. “There are many people complaining about things that don’t have the wherewithal to do something, but I do and that’s why I’m running.”
LIPA lawsuit/Northport Power Station
The Republican challenger said he believes the most important issue in this election is Long Island Power Authority and National Grid’s lawsuit against the town over the tax-assessed value of Northport Power Station.
“It will have the greatest financial impact on town residents, and the tax bills of the Northport-East Northport school district,” he said.
Leonick said he supports levying a fossil fuel tax on the plant to recoup any lost tax money, believes the plant is not currently properly assessed for taxes given its gas and electrical transmission lines should make it more valuable, and is in favor of spending money investigating if using eminent domain to take control of the plant is feasible.
“I agree it’s an anvil hanging over the town’s head for seven years,” Cergol said. “We need to be a unified front.”
She agreed more information would be needed before considering proceeding with eminent domain, as it would require a townwide referendum. Cergol chastised the topic being used as a “political divisive tactic.” The councilwoman said she has been following the advice of the town attorney on how to proceed.
Cergol said the most common issue she hears about is Huntington’s overdevelopment and its impact on the character of the town. She wants to see changes made to C-6 zoning code that affects apartments over commercial space and wants to require all parking needs to be contained by each individual project or on private lots. The Democrat also supports construction of a parking structure or other means to alleviate the village’s parking issues.
“Residents are not happy with downzoning, the town should stick to what the master plan says,” Leonick said. “People who have lived here 30, 40 years and paid taxes don’t want their community to start looking like Nassau and Queens.”
The Republican said a simple fix to the C-6 zoning issue would be to increase the number of parking spaces needed to build apartments. Leonick also criticized the town for not constructing a parking structure for Huntington village, suggesting a modular unit could be purchased and easily constructed.
On issues like the LIPA lawsuit and parking, Leonick said he feels the town lack’s transparency on its actions. Cergol responded by saying the town’s website has an entire section dedicated to the LIPA lawsuit.
The councilwoman said she authored and co-sponsored the bill that led to live streaming of the town’s meetings and events. She also offered to host monthly forums at Town Hall to delve into topics like 5G cellular service transmitters, where residents can ask questions of town officials and discuss the issue.
Leonick said the town’s web page on LIPA doesn’t go far enough and suggested development of additional electronic communications with residents, like a blog.
2019 Tentative Budget
In review of the 2019 tentative budget and government costs, Cergol said the town has
reduced expenses by using technology to allow residents to apply for affordable housing and register for recreational programs online. She is willing to negotiate the number of full-time staff members per council member, which the tentative budget calls to cut from two to one each with a shared secretary.
Leonick said that he’s glad the proposed budget stays within the 2 percent tax cap but believes there should be an increase in personnel in the town attorney’s office to help reduce outside legal fees and that each council member should have two full-time staff.
Town of Huntington Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) learned a lot about herself in 2017. For one, she’s not a politician.
The 56-year-old Huntington native, who lost to state Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (R-Huntington Station) in the November race for town supervisor, will not be returning to the town board Jan. 1. But she is proud of the campaign she led and the community-oriented issues it centered on.
Edwards ran for Huntington’s top seat instead of taking the admittedly safer route of running as an incumbent for re-election to the town board. When asked why, she repeatedly said, “This is not about me. This is about what I believe is best for Huntington.”
She has always seen herself as a community advocate and public servant, first and foremost, a trait noticed and respected by those she has served.
“At the end of the day, I’m a community advocate,” Edwards said. “The nastiness and personal attacks in elections were never things I was ever interested in. I want to help people and our town. True public servants don’t stop doing that just because they lose an election.”
In junior high school, she got her official start in community service as a candy striper at Huntington Hospital. She was encouraged to give back to the community by her father — a narcotics detective on the town’s former police force — and mother, Dolores Thompson, a Huntington activist still going strong today.
Edwards has served on the board of directors of the Long Island Association in Melville and is the Long Island regional director of the NAACP — a post she said she looks forward to returning to.
As councilwoman and supervisor candidate, she focused on making Huntington a more inclusive place for everybody, regardless of age, race, gender or economic bracket.
“We have a very robust, diverse and unique town that is filled with wonderful neighborhoods and great communities,” Edwards said. “There’s no place else I would rather live. While I wish Chad Lupinacci the best, I’ll be keeping my eye on him to make sure this town continues to move in the right direction for all.”
True public servants don’t stop doing that just because they lose an election.
— Tracey Edwards
During her four years in office, Edwards has worked alongside Councilwoman Susan Berland (D) to expand affordable housing legislation for millennials and first-time home buyers and has been hands-on with youth-based programs that focus on character building, recreation and tackling the drug problem. She created a special annual luncheon, dubbed Memories of Huntington, to honor seniors age 75 or older, who have lived in town for more than 50 years, for their contributions to Huntington’s history.
“Tracey is not a politician’s politician … she’s for the people,” said Jo Ann Veit, a member of the Senior Reunion committee. “People love her because she’s there for them and she gives you that feeling that she’s there for you, thinking about you and the town, and what would be best for the seniors in the town. When people leave that reunion, they’re all so pleased with Tracey and how genuine she is. She has been a wonderful councilwoman.”
Bob Santo, commander of Greenlawn American Legion Post 1244, has gotten the same sense of sincerity from Edwards in the years they’ve known each other.
“The first time I met Tracey was during a parade in Huntington Station and she was on the back of a motorcycle being ridden by one of our American Legion motorcycle [members] — she was having a grand old time,” Santo said, laughing. “With Tracey, what you see is what you get, and what she says is what she means. She’s never trying to pull the wool over anybody’s eyes.”
Santo praised the councilwoman for spearheading the Huntington Opportunity Resource Center, a program that offers assistance with résumé preparation, job searches, career options and job training access for unemployed and low-income residents, many of whom are veterans.
Edwards said her proudest accomplishment has been her ability to turn difficult times in her life into something beneficial to those around her. Upon being diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2016, she was determined not to miss a single board meeting and scheduled her chemotherapy, radiation and surgery sessions around them.
When she finally became cancer-free, Edwards, who said she goes for breast cancer screenings once a year, realized there were probably so many women out there who may not be aware of the importance of screenings or have access to health care.
She partnered with Huntington Hospital-Northwell Health to host an education program on preventative screening exams, risk assessment, nutrition and information for free breast cancer screenings at Huntington Town Hall.
She also helped to rewrite the town’s ethics code to make town hall a more transparent place for residents.
NAACP New York State Conference president, Hazel Dukes, commended Edwards for fighting for the rights of all people, regardless of race, creed or color.
She didn’t want to go back as a councilwoman and why would she? You don’t go backward, you keep going forward.
— Dolores Thompson
“I know that Tracey Edwards is a committed and dedicated public servant,” Dukes said. “She truly brings conviction to the cause of equality and justice for all people. She’s embodied that in her professional life, as a worker in the NAACP and her political life.”
Edward’s work ethic comes as no surprise to her mother, Dolores Thompson.
“This year she’s had the initiative and aggressiveness and guts, in plain old English, to run for supervisor in this special community,” Thompson said. “She’s a trooper, a very strong woman who speaks her mind, and I’m very sure she will do something even better for this community as she progresses. She didn’t want to go back as a councilwoman and why would she? You don’t go backward, you keep going forward.”
Edwards, who lives in Dix Hills with her husband, was recognized by outgoing
Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) during a town board meeting Dec. 13.
“Four years ago, we were blessed with a person that I have never, ever encountered someone with more energy and the ability to move in and create change,” Petrone said. “A woman who has given so much in the short, short four years to the Town of Huntington and its residents … Tracey Edwards, we the members of the Huntington Town Board on behalf of the residents of Huntington wish to extend our sincere thanks to you for service to our community.”
Edwards thanked members of the community and assured all in the room her journey isn’t over.
“You haven’t heard the last of me,” she said. “You have not.”
Four candidates for the Huntington town board are deeply divided on what steps are needed to ensure a brighter future for residents.
Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) is seeking re-election to his sixth term on town council with political newcomer Huntington resident Emily Rogan (D). She is a freelance writer who has served as a trustee for Huntington school board for 12 years, four of which as the board’s president. Rogan seeks to take over the seat of Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D), who chose to run for Huntington supervisor rather than seek re-election to town council.
They will face off against Republican candidate Jim Leonick, of East Northport, an attorney with his own practice who has previously worked as a state tax grievance arbiter. He is running with Lloyd Harbor resident Ed Smyth, also an attorney who has served in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and previously on the Village of Lloyd Harbor’s board of zoning appeals.
While the candidates all profess a love for Huntington, they disagreed on what shape or form its future development should take.
Cuthbertson said one of his main goals is creating more housing for senior citizens and millennials to enable them to stay in town. Rogan agreed to the need for a walkable community that incorporates mixed-use retail and apartment spaces in the town, citing downtown Huntington Station and Melville’s Route 110 as prime locations.
“The entire town benefits when all of our town is thriving and feels uplifted,” Rogan said. “People want to see Huntington Station become as desirable a place to be as downtown Huntington village, downtown Northport Village or Cold Spring Harbor.”
Leonick and Smyth both said they feel these developments aren’t considered desirable by residents, saying current town board simply isn’t listening. The Republican
candidates said rather than high-density apartments, they would make it easier for seniors to put accessory apartments in their homes for additional income.
“Density is part of a plan that will allow us to sustain our local economy,” Cuthbertson responded in a recent debate at TBR News Media offices in Setauket. “We’ve already liberalized the rules of apartments to put apartments over stores in our downtown areas. In Huntington village, it’s been very successful.”
Rather than more housing, Smyth and Leonick said their focus would be outreach to bring large businesses to Melville’s Route 110 business corridor to increase jobs.
“The best path to affordable housing is a bigger paycheck,” Smyth said.
Leonick took it one step further calling for re-evaluation of the town’s comprehensive master plan Horizons 2020.
“The biggest thing we need to do is put the brakes on future development projects until we get a handle on what we need to be doing,” Leonick said.
Both Republican candidates said that if elected, they would focus on improving the status of the town’s roadways and traffic issues. Smyth called the town’s roads “deplorable,” citing Prime Avenue as an example, after utility companies have cut them up to lay wires and infrastructure, calling for changes to town code. Leonick heavily criticized town officials for a lack of parking in Huntington village.
“It takes a half hour of driving around to get a spot,” he said. “You can’t continue to develop in the village without solving that problem. We should have had a parking garage a while ago.”
Cuthbertson said the town’s work on a parking garage began two years ago, with a failed attempt at a public-private partnership, but is now moving forward. He pointed to the lack of empty stores downtown as a sign of success.
Rogan agreed that the town’s roadways need change, not more paving, but rather to become more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly. She wants to focus on a public campaign and signage to improve driver awareness.
Efforts to revitalize the southern portion of Huntington Station received a much-needed push forward last week.
Huntington Town Board members voted to approve spending $1.25 million in bond funds received from the Suffolk County Legislature to conduct an extensive sewer study as part of the Huntington Station
The lack of sewers in Huntington Station is one of the areas that is desperately in need of improvement to make revitalization possible, as the land north of the Long Island Rail Road tracks in Huntington Station is served by the sewer district, but the south side is not, which has limited development and economic opportunities.
“It is the hurdle that prevents development from occurring,” said Ryan Porter, the director of planning and development with Renaissance Downtowns. “It prevents this project from being implemented on the south side.”
Renaissance Downtowns is a nationally-renowned development group chosen by the town to be a master developer of Huntington Station’s revitalization in 2012. Porter said due to the lack of sewer access in the south, the town has been forced to pursue a “dual track” when approaching revitalization efforts. Construction of a mix-usedbuilding at the intersection of Northridge Street and New York Avenue was started this past January while there remain no specific plans yet in place for the south side of town, according to Porter.
The sewer study, which will be conducted by Suffolk County under an inter-municipal agreement, will analyze the existing sewer infrastructure, feasibility and design conditions within Huntington
Station to determine the most efficient way to connect the southern part of the town to existing sewer districts.
The southwest sewer district, which currently serves areas in the Town of Babylon and Town of Islip, currently extends only as north on Route 110 as the Walt Whitman Mall.
Porter said if southern portions of Huntington Station could be hooked into either the southwest sewer district or another system, it would greatly increase the future development potential.
“If an existing building is under performing, [the owner] can only tear down what they have and rebuild the same thing,” Porter said. “There’s very little motivation for people to improve their buildings. If
sewers were available, they could increase the building’s uses which is a financial
justification to rebuild your property.”
Suffolk County has already moved to issue the request for bids from engineering firms interested in undertaking the study.
Huntington Station residents interested in sharing their thoughts and ideas about what they would like to improved or built can visit www.sourcethestation.com. The website contains information on sharing ideas find out about upcoming community meetings.
Deer hunters may need to memorize a new set of regulations in the Town of Huntington before the start of the 2017 hunting season.
Huntington Town Board has scheduled a public hearing for its Sept. 19 meeting on a series of proposed changes affecting the use of longbows for deer hunting.
“Over the past few years we’ve learned some things that have gone on during deer hunting season and want to make it safer for our residents,” Councilwoman Tracey Edwards (D) said.
The proposed changes take aim at restricting the use of a longbow under the town’s firearms regulations, not directly regulating deer hunting which falls under the oversight of New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
Edwards, sponsor of the legislation, said the changes include requiring all hunters to provide written notification to the Town’s Department of Public Safety and the police department prior to hunting and expanding the definition of what’s considered a dwelling.
“If [hunters] are going to use the longbow we want to ensure that there’s written notification to the police department as we’ve had instances of people walking around the neighborhood, armed, and no one knows who they are,” Edwards said.
The proposed code changes will also expand the definition of a “dwelling”to include “farm building or farm structures actually occupied or used, school building, school playground, public structure, or occupied factory or church” to prevent hunters from firing at deer within 150 feet of these buildings unless they are the property owner.
“Hunting is already regulated by the DEC so the town … is outside of their scope.”
— Michael Tessitore
If the proposed amendments are passed, anyone violating the regulations would face up to a $500 fine per day and prosecution by the town attorney’s office.
Thepublic hearing is set to take place mere days before the start of the 2017 deer hunting season, which runs from Oct. 1 to Jan. 31 under NYSDEC regulations. Town spokesman A.J. Carter said the town board will have the option to immediately enact the proposed code changes Sept. 19 if there are no substantial objections.
The board’s decision to permit bow hunting in September 2015 remains a contentious issue among local residents, particularly in the areas of Eatons Neck and Asharoken, which routinely deal with deer overpopulation.
“We’ve been having big issues with hunting with it since it began in Asharoken and Eatons Neck,” said Nadine Dumser, an Asharoken Village resident.
Dumser, who also owns property in Eatons Neck, said she has dealt with hunters who did not properly notify her as a homeowner they were active in the area but also entered her yard without permission.
“We would call police and complain about hunters being on our property,” she said. “When they finally do come, they are pretty powerless to do anything.”
Others believe that the Town’s efforts to further regulate longbow use oversteps its legal authority.
Michael Tessitore, founder of the nonprofitHunters for Deer, said the more than 85 hunters who are members of his organization will continue to follow the DEC regulations.
“Hunting is already regulated by the DEC so the town, by taking these extra steps to regulate hunting, is outside of their scope,” Tessitore said. “I believe they are going to open themselves up to litigation.”
Tessitore, who is a licensed nuisance wildlife control operator, said he helps manage more than 100 private properties including areas in Eatons Neck, Fort Salonga, and Smithtown to make agreements between hunters and homeowners who support hunting as a form a deer population management. He’s also worked withSouthampton Town to design a deer population management plan.
“I support deer hunting as a management tool,” Tessitore said. “It’s the only proven effective management tool for the overpopulation of deer.”
More than a dozen Grateful Paw Cat Shelter volunteers and residents attended the Huntington Town Board meeting Aug. 15 to demand action: Now that the IRS has reinstated its 501(c)(3) charitable status, renew the organization’s contract to care for homeless cats.
In April, the town served the cat shelter, run by the League of Animal Protection of Huntington, with a 90-day notice to evacuate its Deposit Road establishment after learning the organization had lost its not-for-profit status in 2015 but never notified the town. Huntington Attorney Cindy Mangano said the town became aware of this breach of contractual agreement when drawing up a new document, as the previous agreement expired in December 2016.
“You were angry with us, but waiting doesn’t hurt us…it hurts our cats and any future cats we take in.”
— Linda Waslin
At the June 13 town board meeting, members voted to give LAP an extension until Nov. 30 to regain its not-for-profit status.
“I’d like to point out to you that this was not intentional as was insinuated by a few. It was a total mistake. It was an oversight,” said LAP volunteer Donna Fitzhugh. “The bottom line is it was not intentional,and the IRS actions proved it. We never lied to you and to be treated in the manner our organization was, was pretty coldhearted.”
Debbie Larkin, president of LAP, said she was thankful for the actions of the organization’s attorney and accountant in getting the not-for-profit status reinstated within five weeks and retroactively applied to the date it was lost.
“With the assistance of any incoming donations, our volunteers continue to take care of the dumps, the owner turn-ins, the bottle babies, free [trap-and-neuter] certificates and the adopt-out animals in our care,” she said.
Larkin and several other LAP members called on the town board to immediately approve an executive order on the contractual agreement previously drawn up this spring, which would extend the organization’s operation of the cat shelter past Nov. 30.
“You were angry with us, but waiting doesn’t hurt us,” said Linda Waslin, a long-time volunteer of the shelter. “It hurts our cats and any future cats we take in.”
Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) said the Town of Huntington cannot renew the nonprofit’s contract as it previously issued a Request For Proposals in the spring, which allowed other organizations to submit proposals to run the shelter. The town board is legally bound to continue the process that’s already in motion or it fears it could run the risk of another interested party taking them into court over the matter, according town spokesperson A.J. Carter.
“With the assistance of any incoming donations, our volunteers continue to take care of the dumps, the owner turn-ins, the bottle babies, free [trap-and-neuter] certificates and the adopt-out animals in our care.”
— Debbie Larkin
The Huntington town attorney’s office is currently reviewing the previous RFP, according to Petrone, and a new one should be issued in October. Petrone encouraged LAP to submit its proposal.
“If you put forth a proposal, and others put forth proposals, whatever’s the best proposal for the residents of Huntington will be selected. If you have all this experience, you will do that,” Petrone said.
Little Animal Shelter was among those who had previously submitted a proposal to take over the town’s cat shelter earlier this spring, according to Dawn Lam.
All proposals received on an RFP will be evaluated by a committee and the town attorney’s office. Unlike bids, which must be awarded to the lowest bidder, Carter said, the committee which reviews the bids can consider subjective criteria such as an organization’s experience. LAP will need to make the case for why it should continue to operate Grateful Paw.
Huntington Town officials said the new contract that is being offered to run the cat shelter wouldn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 2018. Should LAP feel that it is unable or unwilling to run the shelter past the Nov. 30 extension, the town has already stated it is willing to step in and temporarily provide services to ensure the safety and best interests of the cats, Carter said.
Term limits could be the law of the future, as one Huntington town councilman is looking to the public for encouragement on drafting legislation for term limits for local offices.
Back in late June, Councilman Gene Cook (R) asked Huntington residents and business owners to let him know their thoughts on term limits for all elected officials in the town. The survey asked if people were in favor of term limits, supported them for all elected officials and if they supported two terms of four years each or three terms of four years each for officials.
By mid-July the results were in and Cook feels positive about moving forward to schedule a public hearing to hear more from the residents on the matter.
“For years I have wanted term limits,” Cook said in a phone interview. “So many people have come up to me on the street and said we should have term limits for everyone. I truly believe in it, and I think it makes for a healthier environment.”
According to Cook’s office, 98.07 percent of the people who responded are in favor of term limits, 86.54 percent supported that term limits include all elected officials, 63.46 percent supported two terms of four years compared to 17.31 percent for three terms of four years each.
Cook said he went to Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) after he got the results and said he plans to present a resolution for a public hearing for proposed legislation on term limits scheduled for the September town board meeting.
The proposed legislation would support term limits of two terms of four years each for all elected officials including town supervisor, town council, town clerk, receiver of taxes and superintendent of highways. This legislation also includes if the town board ever wishes to change term limits that it go before a public referendum.
“I feel very strongly about this, that it’s the right thing to do,” Cook said. “In a business world it’s always good to have competition, it should be the same in politics. We can make government better by doing this.”
Petrone, who has served the town for more than 20 years, said he’s going into these discussions with an open mind.
“I objected in the past because drafts didn’t include all elected officials,” he said in a phone interview. “But I believe this may be different. In the past I’ve said if we had term limits it should be all the way up the line to Congress.”
The supervisor said he’ll see if a public hearing is a better vehicle to get information.
Cook said he hopes he can get bipartisan support for this bill and show that real leadership starts at the town level.
He will be sponsoring a resolution to schedule a public hearing in September on term limits at the Aug. 15 town board meeting.
“It is extremely vital for the future ofHuntington that the residents and business owners take the time out of their busy day to attend either the August … meeting at 2 p.m., the September … meeting at 7 p.m. or email Jo-Ann Raia, Huntington town clerk to ensure their voices are heard on term limits,” Cook said in a statement. “In the six years that I have served Huntington I have had many conversations with Huntington constituents regarding their thoughts on the need for term limits. This is why I have taken a stance to sponsor legislation this important topic.”