Suffolk Legislature October 6 General Meeting Report
Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman’s Hot Topics
The Suffolk County Legislature on October 6 unanimously supported funding to upgrade the septic system at Meschutt County Park, approved funding for downtown revitalization projects and approved a new lease agreement at the Francis S. Gabreski airport. Suffolk County also became the third county in the state to prohibit the sale of products that contain microbeads.
Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman (I-Southampton) was successful in securing funds to upgrade the septic system at Meschutt County Park. The county will transfer $300,000 from Suffolk County’s Assessment Stabilization Reserve Fund (ASRF) to cover the cost of the project.
The new septic system will be more advanced than the current county standard. The new system will filter nitrogen from wastewater more efficiently and will be more resilient than the current system. The installation of the new system is scheduled for the fall of 2016. Wastewater treatment upgrades are critical because nitrogen from septic systems and cesspools have led to the degradation of the water quality throughout the county.
Legislator Schneiderman successfully secured downtown revitalization funding for Shelter Island and Westhampton Beach. The County’s Department of Economic Development received a total of 15 applications, seeking approximately $800,000 for project funding. The Downtown Revitalization Citizens Advisory Panel recommended funding 9 of those 15 projects.
The Greater Westhampton Chamber of Commerce will receive $75,000 to install additional curbing & improve drainage at the Sunset Avenue and Mill Road intersections with Main Street. The project will also cover the cost of installing two mid-block crossings to increase pedestrian safety on Main Street between Sunset Avenue and Glovers Lane and between Glovers Lane and Mill Road. The Shelter Island Chamber of Commerce will receive $68,000 to install a unisex public restroom facility at Volunteer Park.
The county has authorized a lease amendment with Sheltair LLC at the Francis S. Gabreski Airport in Westhampton. The new lease agreement will last for the next 25 years, with two additional five year options. Under this lease amendment, Francis S. Gabreski Airport will receive a million dollar increase in new revenues over the next four years. As a result of this increase, the airport will now be able to operate without a county subsidy for the first time ever.
Sheltair LLC has agreed to make approximately $6.6 million in capital improvements over a five year period. Sheltair LLC will replace one of the three older 10,000 square foot hangars with a new 20,000 square foot hangar in the next 3 years. Sheltair will also remove two other older hangars, which were built in the 1940’s and 1950’s, and replace those older hangars with another 20,000 square foot hangar. In the next two years, Sheltair LLC will renovate a 30,000 square foot hangar that has fallen into disrepair. Sheltair will renovate and make necessary improvement and create a more modern facility. Another provision of the new lease agreement includes Sheltair’s responsibility to operate the concession year-round.
The lease amendment was approved unanimously by Gabreski Airport’s Conservation Assessment Committee (ACAC) earlier this year. After the ACAC approval, the lease amendment went in front of the Suffolk County Council of Environmental Quality (CEQ) to determine the effects of this agreement on the environment. CEQ recommended an unlisted action and a negative declaration of impact on the environment.
Legislator Schneiderman also co-sponsored legislation prohibiting the sale of personal care products containing microbeads. This measure, sponsored by Legislator Kara Hahn (D-Stony Brook), will improve the county’s water quality by removing plastic microbeads found in the county’s water supply. This legislation will take effect at the beginning of 2018.
Representing the South Fork, Deputy Presiding Officer Jay Schneiderman is the Suffolk County Legislator for the Second Legislative District. For more information, or to arrange an interview, please call (631) 852-8400.