ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 464, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB August Meeting
Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Community Center Multi-Purpose Room
ICB Representatives Present: Tom O’ Neil (President), Willard Soper (Treasurer), Dicky Riegel (Seasonal), Candace Whitman (Year-Round), Mere Doyen (Island Liaison), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), Dave Burnham (Waste Management), Matt Edwards (Walsh Park), Geb Cook (Ferry District), Jeanie Cook (Community Center), John McGillian (FIDCO)
Public Present: George de Menil, Rich Bartels, Woody Collins, Jane Ahrens, Ellen Harvey, Bob Evans, Tom Siebens, Barbie Riegel, Wendy O’ Neil, Peter Brinkerhoff
On-Call: Kevin Coleman, Mimi Parsons
Staff: Zack Hoch (Secretary)
Absent: Nate Malinowski (Year-Round), Chris Finan (Utility Company), Tom Sargent (Conservancy), Greg Thibodeau (Fire District), Marc Rubenstein (IHP), Christian Arsenault (School), Elizabeth McCance (Museum)
Approve July Minutes
Tom O’ Neil motioned to approve the ICB July meeting minutes written by Zack Hoch. The Board seconded and the minutes passed unanimously.
Tom Siebens reported that the Utility Company has signed a contract to sell to the Town a 5.4 acre property on the east end of the island. The purchase will be funded by the Peconic Bay Area Community Preservation Fund (CPF), which is funded by the 2% transfer tax on sales of real estate in Southold, including Fishers Island. The Utility Company plans to use the proceeds of the sale for year-round employee housing.
Tom explained that they must also embark on a multi-year project to replace the water mains. A 12-inch water main is needed to distribute potable water to the entire island. Fire protection needs 10-12-inch mains. Currently the mains are ‘gunked up’ and depleted to 5 inches. Generally, catastrophic pipe failures begin to occur once case iron pipes are more than 130 years-old. Some pipes on the island are approaching 120 years of age. More work is needed with the Water Company’s engineering consultant and interested parties to determine what needs to be done and in what priority. In the connection, the Water Company and the Fire District have formed a working group to consider what makes the most sense for improving the fire prevention infrastructure.
Tom noted that the cost of replacing mains will be significant. The Water Company can raise funds for these capital improvements only by raising rates over time for its potable water and fire prevention services. Rates for fire prevention services are basically funded from property taxes which are allocated to the Fire District, reflecting the fact that property owners are the primary beneficiaries of fire prevention services. More work is needed to determine into what rate increases are appropriate and feasible.
Asked what the ICB could do to facilitate the process, Tom suggested the ICB could help by spreading the word that the Water Company is focusing on renovating the water distribution system and that this will be a multi-year process and involve significant investment. The Water Company will keep the ICB updated once there is more to report on progress with the engineering study.
Dicky Riegel stated ICB elections will be August 22-28 electronically or by ballot. Campaigning is a great way to see who really cares. Online voting opens 10am on the 22nd and closes at 5pm on the 28th. There is one opening for a seasonal representative, as President Tom O’ Neil is at the end of his 2nd consecutive term and will step down at the conclusion of the September meeting. Four candidates running for the 3-year term are Rich Bartels, Kevin Coleman, George de Menil, and Rob Hunt. The candidates’ statements and bios can be found on fishersisland.net. Since only a seasonal representative is running for election, only registered seasonal ICB members can vote this year.
Willard Soper reported funds are getting low in the ICB account. The Annual Appeal and 2019 Letter to Community boxholder mailing will be sent out next week. ICB hopes to raise $6000-$8000 annually. Suggestions include releasing the Annual Appeal earlier next year, possibly by June. Tom O’ Neil suggests that districts affiliated with ICB donate at least $250 annually. ICB will send invoices to these districts similar to a subscription.
Tom O’ Neil motioned to pass Zack’s 70 hours for the past quarter. The board seconded and the motion passed.
Tom O’ Neil reported that Southold Day was successful but follow-up is needed from Scott Russell and Senator LaValle, mostly regarding the infrastructure scheduling. Tom reminds all that if anyone has follow-up questions, please go through island liaison, Mere Doyen and the ICB. The ICB is here to help organizations and the community gather consensus.
Willard suggests ICB follow-up first by sending Scott Russell what was said at the Southold Day meeting and then follow-up a second time 4-6 weeks later. Senator LaValle explored the island roads and told Willard the town has access to ‘significantly’ more money. Tom suggests once again inviting Scott Russell to the Columbus Day Weekend meeting. Scott is up for re-election this year and speaking is an opportunity to campaign for himself.
John McGillian stated the petition with over 1,200 signatures to extend the bike path woke up Scott Russell. Previously Scott did not view the extension as an island priority. John asks for help from the ICB and suggests scheduling a conference call between September 15th and October 15th with the Secretary of Navy and the Southold team. John is happy to synchronize efforts with the Utility Company and reiterated being proactive. The project does not require funding from the town.
Next ICB meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 10, 5:30PM in the Community Center multi-purpose room. An item to discuss for next meeting will be the ‘Old Bakery’ building.