ISLAND COMMUNITY BOARD
P.O. Box 371, Fishers Island, NY 06390
ICB Monthly Meeting
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
Total Participants: 80
The ICB meets monthly in a public forum with the community to review and discuss Island priorities. Minutes of monthly ICB meetings are posted on the ICB website.
ICB Representatives: Willard Soper (President), Candace Whitman (Vice President), Dicky Riegel (Treasurer – Seasonal), Meg Atkin (Year-Round), George de Menil (Seasonal), Nate Malinowski (Year-Round)
Willard: Minutes of February 9, 2021, meeting approved.
Dicky Riegel—Treasurer’s Report: We have just under $5,000 in our checking account and approximately $800 in our PayPal account. Expenses are $1,200 to MaryBeth (Secretary)—approved; and $43.13 to FI Utility/phone bill.
Willard: It will be a spring project to clean up our mailing/membership lists and encourage everyone to contribute the small annual fee that ICB requests so that ICB can continue its operation.
Mimi Gary—FIDCO: Regarding East End stickers, there is a new policy for “Guest Passes”: they will no longer be free for several reasons, including that the system was greatly abused. Guest Passes will be $50 per pass, for up to seven days available by request only by holders of residential vehicle stickers, or for year-round residents with a commercial vehicle sticker. Passes will be issued for only seven days. If stay exceeds seven days, and guest(s) want further vehicle access to the East End, they will have to purchase a sticker at the applicable rate. Willard – question: has this information been circulated other than to FIDCO homeowners? Mimi: Yes; in the sticker letter, on the web site, posted at the Gate House, etc.
Chris Ingram (IHP): No new COVID cases have been reported on FI; vaccination event at FIS on Feb 28th went extremely well; 257 people were vaccinated. Event will be repeated on Mar 28th with fewer staff from Suffolk as FI qualified personnel are able to support. There was a question of whether anyone who missed the Feb 28th date could be vaccinated on Mar 28th, and the answer is “probably not”; however, if you want to leave your name with Dianna, she will start a ‘standby’ list in the event there are extra vaccines available. I inquired about the availability of the J & J one-shot vaccine—answer is that the supply is extremely limited, and, at present, is being used for those who are hospitalized and for home-bound seniors. As production increases the J & J vaccine may become more available. New regulations from CDC are that those who have had both vaccinations and are two weeks past the second are considered fully vaccinated and those people can intermingle in enclosed spaces w/o masks and w/o social distancing, along with low-risk individuals who have not been vaccinated. I expect there will be more guidelines from CDC prior to the summer months.
Willard–Questions about testing: what are your thoughts about continued testing? And about the ‘self-administered’ tests? Chris: I have no knowledge of self-administered testing, other than when someone does the nasal swab themselves and IHP sends to the lab. CDC has said if you’ve been vaccinated and past two weeks, the only reason to get tested is if you’re symptomatic. We will have to decide as a community if we feel that’s adequate. My feeling is that we should still maintain the rigorous protocols we have had in place. Also a system of verifying immune status is in the works.
Willard—Question to Christian Arsenault: Have any of the protocols at FIS been changed?
Christian: Some rules have loosened up on the State level and on Long Island specifically. A lot of the schools that were remote or hybrid option are allowing the students to come back. We do not plan to relax protocols at FIS. Right now we are waiting for guidance on what will be allowable when School opens in September.
Mimi Gary: The CDC has come out with updated guidelines, but the Dept of Health for NY state has not yet adopted them; NYS still operating under old rules.
Candy—Question to Chris Ingram: What will happen if someone has a conflict with the March 28th date for second vaccination? Chris: That person would miss out and probably have difficulty getting a second shot elsewhere b/c of the system that is in place.
Candy—Question about the Clubs: how are they going to operate re vaccinated/unvaccinated?
Willard: Hoping to address Club and Island organization protocols for the summer at the April or May ICB meeting.
Tom Siebens (FI Utility): Security of supply during power outages—the Island has a very good track record in restoring power quickly; we’re fortunate to be connected to the New England grid with our marine cable that brings the power to the Island from Groton Utilities. New England grid is built for harsh weather, blizzards, freezing temperatures, etc. (unlike the recent situation in Texas where the system wasn’t prepared for the colder temperatures). NE grid is inter-connected so that there are multiple sources of power…nuclear, gas, coal, even hydro-power. NE grid is also part of the regulatory system and power is monitored. Biggest risk on Fishers is storms bringing down power lines; FI Utility regularly polices the lines, removing tree limbs that might fall on a line; during storms, crews are on stand-by to repair/restore lines, remove debris, etc. For worst case scenario, we do have an alternative energy source on the Island, which is the generator located across from the Mobil Station. Long-term planning includes exploring renewable energy sources for the Island; FIUC has looked at wind-generation, solar power, even tidal generation in the Race; solar power is the most viable, but it will take a while before it can be incorporated into the grid.
Willard: Sidewalk repairs—Michael Collins, Town Engineer, has completed his specs, and anticipates the advertising for bids will go out at the end of March/beginning of April.
Cost Trends—Nate and his team have been working on this, and hope to have a report by April or May meeting. The purpose of the study is to provide historical data, set some expectations, create a baseline from which to make value judgements, and potentially be used as a tool to attract future residents to the Island.
Neighborhood Aide: The Town of Southold has approved the hiring of Beth Cashel in this position. We welcome her and she will be another source, along with Louisa, for communication with Southold.
Q & A:
Q to Tom Siebens: when does the Utility Co expect the Briar Patch houses to be occupied?
A: We don’t yet have a C of O; it has been difficult to get the building inspector to come to the Island during pandemic, and their computers have been shut down while they investigate a legal issue. Also, FI Utility is seeking to fill a lineman position, which is one of the reasons these houses were built. The position is difficult to fill; three candidates have been considered and no one of them worked out. The third challenge is getting people to come to live on an Island.
Willard: Perhaps Beth Cashel, in her new position, can help with getting the Building Inspector to the Island.
Willard to IHP: A number of people have volunteered to help with vaccination program on Mar 28th; Susie Parsons: Let Di Shillo know if you want to volunteer.
Q to Tom Siebens: If Utility Co were to install a solar field, where might it be located?
Tom: One site that has been considered is the Pickett Landfill, where the bike path begins; it’s possible to install solar on remediated land. One of the issues is economics: a solar field large enough to power the Island in the summer would have surplus power in the off-season, unless the excess power could be sold to an off-taker on the mainland. Another site considered was the airfield, but that is in a flood plain. A second marine cable would need to be installed to transmit power back to the mainland—this is all part of the economics.
Tim Patterson (comment): Installation of a solar field has been explored in the past, and at least one developer has been consulted.
Q: Was there an age requirement for getting vaccinated on the Island? Willard: No; though vaccines were only administered to adults, not children.
Q: Will the IHP take measures to find out whether seasonal visitors have been vaccinated or not?
Chris: This is complicated b/c it gets into ethics, privacy, etc. I think we would encourage it. I don’t know if organizations, clubs, etc. are going to set policy around this issue; this is all to be worked out. If it were me, I’d be prepared to come to the Island vaccinated and with proof.
Dicky: Clubs and organizations are still in the planning stages; there will be more to report on this matter in the next couple of months.
Q—to Tom: what was the cause of extended power outage on Isabella and Brickyard Roads?
Tom: The direct buried cable on those roads had degenerated and had to be removed/replaced; this took a few days. Good news is that now it has been done properly, and will be in place when the fiber-optic system is updated/expanded.
Q to Tom: Could the solar field be built to 60% so there would not be an excess of power?
Tom: The economics of this plan are not interesting to a developer.
Willard: Hope everyone stays healthy and gets vaccinated.