November 28, 2015, 10 am
Regular Meeting (open to the public)
Fishers Island Community Center, Multi-Purpose Room
Directors present, in the room: Heather Burnham (year-round), Andrew Burr (Walsh Park), Louisa Evans (Town Justice), Chris Finan (Utility Co.), Mark Gaumond (FIDCO), Karen Goodwin (School Dist.), Nate Malinowski (year-round), Tom O’Neil (seasonal/President), Tim Patterson (Waste Mgmt. Dist.), Dicky Riegel (seasonal), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Candace Whitman (year-round).
Directors absent: Peter Brinckerhoff (seasonal), Joe Brock (Fire Dist.), Harry Parker (Ferry Dist.).
Members of the Public: Approximately 20 members present.
- President Tom O’Neil called the meeting to order at 1005. There being at least one-third of the directors present, including at least one seasonal and at least one year-round director, a quorum was established.
- The minutes from the October 19th regular meeting were presented. Tom O’Neil moved to approve as written; the motion was seconded and in a voice vote, unanimously approved.
- Discussion of whether the minutes could be approved via email, to allow timely publication on FishersIsland.net, was tabled pending a recommendation from the Governance Committee. However, the Board did agree to explore the program Basecamp to manage pre-meeting documents and discussion, and to possibly record e-votes. Secretary Liz Burnham will work with Tom O’Neil on implementation.
- Karen Goodwin presented an editorial from the Suffolk Times on affordable housing in Southold for discussion.
- Louisa Evans reported that the rest of Southold faces many of the same problems as Fishers Island, and that the project in question had several reasons not to move forward. Fishers Island’s low population magnifies some of the issues.
- Chris Finan noted that the Utility Company was challenged because the current single-family zoning of its properties precluded its putting multiple employees in the same units, and accessory apartment regulations required the owner to live in the primary unit. Andrew Burr said that Walsh Park and the Utility Company were in contact on this issue, but had not yet gotten very far. Walsh Park is also talking with Kandi Sanger about her project, though that is officially under a town program, and with Karen Goodwin about using school property for new construction. He agreed that Walsh Park was the de facto repository of on-island information about affordable housing.
- Tom O’Neil asked if, given its interest in working more closely with Southold, Walsh Park should be represented on the Southold Relations Committee. Andrew Burr concurred but suggested that the decision might wait until their new employee is in place.
- The 2016 schedule was brought to the table and discussed.
- The Governance Committee will determine whether the July 18th meeting might be moved to a nearby weekend to better engage the seasonal population and make a recommendation at the next meeting (January 18th).
- The Community Development and Communications Committee will liaise with the Waste Management District and keep the Board informed as to whether the Board can provide additional forums for discussion.
- Tom O’Neil moved that the Board approve the following schedule for 2016 meetings, subject to change with sufficient notice to the public:
Monday, January 18th, 5 pm (closed working session)
Monday, March 21st, 5 pm (open to the public)
Monday, May 16th, 5 pm (open to the public)
Saturday, May 28th, 4 pm (Memorial Day Weekend, open to the public)
Monday, June 20th, 5 pm (open to the public)
Monday, July 18th, 5 pm (open to the public)
Monday, August 22nd, 5 pm (open to the public)
Monday, September 19th, 5 pm (open to the public)
Saturday, October 8th, 4 pm (Columbus Day Weekend, Annual Meeting, open to the public)
The motion was seconded, and in a voice vote, approved.
- The Board discussed the Secretary’s role on the committees and concurred that the committees should keep the Secretary informed of the content and scope of their work, that the Secretary’s presence at committee meetings is optional at the chairman’s discretion, and that the Secretary will be involved in collecting and distributing reports to the Board at large (along with all other preparatory materials for meetings).
- Dicky Riegel reported for the Governance Committee that ICB’s bylaws are under revision, with the goal of maximizing flexibility in operations for future Boards. The Committee expects to bring the bylaws to the Board for comment this winter, send to legal counsel for revision, and ultimately vote on approval and publication at the May 16th
- Responding to questions, the Committee agreed to take a closer look at the structure authorizing that committees may be composed of ICB members as well as directors.
- Dicky proposed the following slate of officers to formalize the current positions on the Board, through the next Annual Meeting:
President: Tom O’Neil
Vice President: Heather Burnham
Vice President: Harry Parker
Treasurer: Mark Gaumond
Secretary (appointed): Elizabeth Burnham
Tom O’Neil moved to approve the slate, the motion was seconded, and in a voice vote, was unanimously approved.
- Nate Malinowski reported for the Community Development and Communications Committee on its updated mission statement.
- The Board discussed whether population growth and recruitment ought to be a charter goal of the Committee, as well as whether the committee ought to be specifically working with island employers on housing. The Committee will discuss any amendments to their mission statement internally.
- On the matter of potential new residents, Tom O’Neil suggested surveying major island employees; the Committee will look into it.
- Chris Finan noted that the Electric Company had lost Jeremy Doucette this fall and currently had one lineman. He has hired four new employees to create both depth and breadth in the Electric Company: one experienced lineman starting January 7th and three junior personnel in their early 20s who will focus on internet connectivity. However, none of these new hires have on-island housing (the Electric Co. house is used for on-call personnel), which might delay repairs if a winter storm strands personnel on the mainland. Chris requests assistance in finding suitable housing; Jane Ahrens will get the request onto FishersIsland.net. Heather Burnham will speak to Jim Reid and Tom O’Neil will speak to Bill Bloethe about possible housing options.
- Tim Patterson reported that Bill Bloethe had successfully procured a new, donated emergency generator and switches, worth over $75,000, to keep the island emergency shelter (the school) fully powered and heated in a winter emergency. The community must come up with $45,000 to get permits, pour a concrete slab before winter weather sets in, and install the generator. The Town of Southold has budgeted $20,000 (available in 2016), and some FEMA and school funds will be contributed. However, the community is invited to make donations via a GoFundMe site.
- Mark Gaumond reported on behalf of the Finance Committee with a plan to stabilize funding streams: appeal to Board members and their close connections, then to registered ICB members (voters), then to the wider island population. The Committee will continue to discuss reinstituting a nominal fee associated with membership, as the Fishers Island Civic Association had. Mark noted that there is no tax write-off for donations to a 501(c)(4) civic organization. Tom O’Neil is still working on filing the necessary banking paperwork to update the account signers.
- Tom O’Neil reported that the Committee on Southold Relations, specifically Louisa Evans, has started a FAQ on our hamlet/town relationship. The Committee will tidy its draft for publication on FishersIsland.net, and establish an easy way to submit further questions for Louisa to answer.
- Dicky Riegel moved that the four committee mission statements be approved for publication on FishersIsland.net. The motion was seconded, and in a unanimous voice vote, approved.
- Louisa Evans reported that the Highway Department contractor was now responsive, but the numbers now submitted are not in accordance with the original bid. It is now too late in the year (too cold) to fix any roads, but she expects roads will be fixed this spring. Tom O’Neil, Jane Ahrens, and Liz Burnham will coordinate a FishersIsland.net submission form to facilitate official complaints to the Town.
- Louisa Evans also reported that the Town appears willing to contribute towards the rec path extension along the Navy fenceline, up to the cost of expanding the road to incorporate a standard bike lane, as it would in the rest of the Town. However, it is focused on repairing roads first.
- Tim Patterson spoke on behalf of the Waste Management District, reminding all present of the FAQ published on the FIWMD website and answering questions from the public. He noted specifically that the FIWMD was looking to transfer ownership of the northern section of the compost site (that part containing the sewer lines) to the Sewer District, to acquire the land currently used as the compost station driveway, and to permanently conserve the historic bunkers as a park. He also noted that the District is applying for pre-approval of DEC grant funds, which would reserve grant monies for this project and allow access to the funds as soon as permits are in place.
- Tom O’Neil adjourned the meeting at 12:02 pm to allow directors and members to transition to FIWMD’s scheduled tour of the compost station site.
Elizabeth Burnham, Secretary