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The Village News, Bellport's Paperless NewspaperLetters to the Editor

Letters to the editor must be submitted via email and must include the author’s name, address, and daytime phone number so that Bellport.com can confirm the source of the submission. Letters can be up to 500 words in length and should be in good taste, not libelous, and not "Fake News." We expect our readers and their letters to be civil to one another and we expect them to remember that we are all friends and neighbors and to conduct themselves accordingly. If you'd like to submit a Letter to the Editor, send your letter to letters@bellport.com.

Letters are posted as soon as they are received, not just once a week, so check back often!

The purpose of Bellport.com's Letters To The Editor section is to encourage the free exchange of ideas and experiences in our community. While Bellport.com and its staff try to make every effort to see that no libelous statements, inaccurate or misleading opinions or statements, or "Fake News" appears on Bellport.com we wish to make it clear that the opinions expressed in the letters, articles, correspondence, etc. herein are the responsibility of the contributor and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Bellport.com and its staff. Accordingly, Bellport.com and its staff accept no liability whatsoever for the consequences of any such inaccurate or misleading opinions or statements.

In regards to elections (national, state, local), Bellport.com imposes a 48 hour “Blackout” period before Election Day. In other words, assuming Election Day is on a Tuesday, any letters from the candidates or members of the community that are received after 5:00pm on the Saturday prior to Election Day, will not be published by Bellport.com. We do this in order to prevent last minute claims being made and “Fake News” that don’t give sufficient time for which to respond.

 


 

January 14, 2018

Support For The Village Board’s Control Of Summer House Rentals

I'm writing in support of the board's proposal to enforce some control over summer house rentals in Bellport.

Village residents want to have the option to rent out their homes as they please -- although there is such a glut of rentals on AirBnB these days that they may not succeed. At any rate, the board is not trying to stop all renting. They are trying to discourage abusive short term renters who have little regard for the quiet nature of Bellport. The board is also trying to protect residents from the extra ferry crowds of last summer - many were large renting groups.

We live on the east side of the Village in close proximity to a very decent neighbor who unfortunately lists her small home as able to sleep ten. The noise with so many people at her pool ruined entire weeks for us last summer. One group lit off fireworks -- not more than ten feet from our house. Another small home near the fire station has become a party rental house that drives neighbors crazy.

The issue here is that short term strangers who are renting don't have to respond to complaints the way residents do. If it comes down to having to call code enforcement or the homeowner, that's a sign that something is wrong. If the answer is that taxpaying homeowners should just close their windows and stay inside until the renters are gone, that's interfering with their legal right to peaceful enjoyment of their property.

At the risk of being more inflammatory, I think the village should add more to its restrictions, including a rule that a house should not be listed as able to sleep more than the amount of residents normally living there.

Maybe all these homeowners so keen on their right to rent should consider sharing their profit with their neighbors in cases when renters ruin weeks of summer that we all hold so dear?

I'm sure the meeting on Jan 22 with this issue on the table will draw vast and angry opposition to the proposed restrictions. I would encourage anyone living in close proximity to a neighbor -- especially one with a back deck or pool -- to consider the possibility of finding rowdy interim strangers next door who may not care about the residents who can hear them.

We took care in buying a house surrounded by good neighbors with small families. Now we don't know from week to week who our neighbors are. Yes, neighbors can sell and move away. You can't have any hope of controlling that. But having the crap shoot of never knowing who will be renting next door from one week to the next adds unnecessary anxiety and aggravation.

Many communities are taking action against AirBnB - which seems to have turned every homeowner into an entrepreneur without a license or oversight. Rental agents in town typically bring in the responsible kind of longer term renters more likely to be respectful.

I hope residents will give some thought to both sides of the issue before getting up in arms about individual rights to rent as they please. Sure, being open and inclusive sounds good on paper. But so does being fair to taxpayers who want to know that they are protected with solid renting regulations.

Bellport is a special place because we know each other.

Bob Morris
Bellport, NY

 


 

December 22, 2017

Bellport Fire Dept

I am responding to a letter that was posted in Bellport.com referencing the loss of “Christmas Spirit”. The writer heard a little girl asking her mother about the arrival of Santa arriving in a fire truck. That does happen at the Bellport Village “Tree Lighting Ceremony”. This takes place every year and Santa arrives in an antique fire truck and sits in his chair inside of the Gazebo and visits with all of the children that are there. In addition, the Village and the Chamber of Commerce host “Breakfast with Santa at the Community Center. The Sunday morning event the writer was referring to is “Candy Cane Sunday” that the Bellport Fire Department has been conducting since the late 1970’s. The members split up and visit the entire district and hand out candy canes to children and children at heart that come out of their homes. Many other Fire Departments on Long Island do this also, some do it on Saturdays, Sundays, or week nights. Bellport FD will continue these traditions in the future as a treat to all of the children in the community. This does not distract from the true meaning of Christmas in any way.

Richard Terwilliger
Past Chief
Bellport FD

 


 

December 20, 2017

Santa’s 8 Tiny Reindeer – Gone?

So I was in CVS last week (probably trying to remember why I was there!) and I heard a cute little girl ask “Mom when is Santa’s fire truck coming with presents?”

My heart sank. What happened to the wonderful images created by the poem “T’was the Night Before Christmas” ? Then on this past Sunday morning, a huge Bellport fire truck chugged around the corner and emitted 3 horn blasts at volume 10,000 decibels scaring every dog in a 5 miles radius, not to mention me spilling my coffee. There was a person dressed in a white beard and red cap sitting in the cab of the truck waving. I remembered the little girl in the store. As the great chanteuse Peggy Lee sang years back “Is That All There IS?”

I suppose the fire department thinks it is a good idea to substitute the tonnage of an actual/physical truck for the image in a child’s mind created by parents reading the poem to their children, allowing them to fantasize in their dreams Santa’s sleigh taking off from the North Pole drawn by tiny reindeer (as opposed to pulling out from a garage on So. Country Road.) Pity that.

Remember:

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
with a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and call’d them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Dunder and Blixem!”

To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!
“"Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”


Isn’t that wonderful? Maybe the fire department could arrange a party in the Community Center for kids under 5 or 6 with a parent, and make the central activity a reading of the entire poem “T’was the Night Before Christmas” by a chorus of parents, followed by small gifts for all children there.


Will Struyk
Bellport, NY

 


 

December 19, 2017

Proposed Tax Increase in South Country Ambulance District

The Brookhaven Town Board will hold a public hearing on Tuesday, December 19, 2017 at 6:00 pm to consider an INCREASE in debt to pay for a proposed ambulance building on Station Road, just south of the Railroad tracks in Bellport. If approved, the entire cost of this project, $15,730,000, plus interest over 20 years, will be borne by taxpayers in the South Country Ambulance District.

The Town Board is considering INCREASING Ambulance District taxes by nearly 65% for each year over the next 20 years. Thus, while cost to taxpayers for ambulance service in 2016-2017 was approximately $ 1,735,000, the cost will be nearly $3 million per year if the Town Board approves this INCREASE. Don't be fooled by the claim that it will cost the typical taxpayer approximately $ 110 more per year over 2016-17 taxes paid. Look at your own tax bill to see how much you paid in Ambulance District taxes this year. Multiply that by 65% , add it to you current bill and you will get a more accurate figure for your estimated proposed new tax.

Here is how emergency ambulance service is provided in our area. We live in the South Country Ambulance District which is 1 of 9 ambulance districts in the Town. The Town Board acts as Commissioners for each ambulance district because, unlike Fire Districts, taxpayers have no opportunity to vote for commissioners or to vote on whether to incur debt to finance capital projects.

The Town Board, as Commissioners of the ambulance district, contracts with a private, not-for-profit corporation to provide ambulance service in each district. The corporation providing service in our area is Brookhaven Ambulance Company, Inc., d/b/a South Country Ambulance.

In July, 2014, by letter to Supervisor Romaine, the Chief of South Country Ambulance Company requested that the Town approve construction of a new building. The next day, Supervisor Romaine, by letter, stated that he would get the project included in the capital budget for 2015. Then, in October, 2015, the Board approved a $ 13 million bond ("debt") to cover the cost of a new building, including a 15% contingency for increase in cost.

Thereafter, Supervisor Romaine repeatedly said that the Town was working with the private ambulance corporation to reduce the cost to taxpayers. Yet, there has been no reduction in building size or cost of materials; no use of multi-purpose rooms to reduce square footage; and no consideration of alternatives for storage of vehicles or use of existing satellite buildings. Current building plans show the same Taj Mahal presented to the Town Board in 2015. The private ambulance corporation continues to insist on a re-cycled design like that used for the Riverhead and Medford Fire Districts, with their often empty large spaces.

Unlike the new building for the Mastic Beach Ambulance District, the Town failed to involve stakeholders in plans for construction. The Town Board is well-aware that South Country taxpayers have differences of opinion about the need for a new building, especially the extravagant one proposed by the private corporation providing service in our district. Community involvement and ambulance company consideration of needs of taxpayers, resulted in a final Mastic Beach building
design which was smaller than the original one.

Why can’t we work together to provide what is needed for both taxpayers and volunteers?

E. Anne Hayes
Bellport, NY

 


 

December 11, 2017

GOP Tax Bill

We all lament that so many of our young people, who grow up in our district, go to school, work hard and find they still cannot afford to stay here. We watch as many wonderful seniors feel they have to leave solely because they cannot afford the high costs. We point to our outstanding local intellectual resources—Stony Brook University and Brookhaven National Lab and wonder why the young entrepreneurs they nurture find it impossible to stay and start businesses. It’s expensive to live in this congressional district. Well, it’s all about to get a lot worse.

Thanks to the tax bills that Republicans just passed in the House and Senate, taxes here are about to soar because we will no longer be able to deduct state and local income taxes (SALT) from federal taxes. And our property tax deduction may be capped at $10,000 if we get any deduction at all (House and Senate versions differ). Because of losing that deduction, experts are betting that real estate prices could fall an average of 10%—which would be especially catastrophic for middle class retirees whose main asset is often their home.

Because of the huge tax cuts for the biggest corporations and billionaires, Medicaid and Medicare will have to be slashed. That means, if you have an incapacitated elderly relative in a nursing home, you better start exploring alternatives because chances are he or she is dependent on Medicaid subsidies, like most infirm elderly. Seniors on Medicare will either face immediate cuts or see the benefits to younger siblings—never mind future generations--even more severely whacked.

And those jewels in the crown that we hope will be engines for a booming tech economy? Brookhaven National Lab is set to lay off hundreds of employees-starving the Lab to grow the economy? As for education: Because state and local taxes will no longer be fully deductible, states, counties and cities will have a tougher time raising money for schools. If you’re a grad student—a degree now essential in so many professions, you’re getting a tax increase —the GOP tax bill, while giving millions of dollars of tax cuts to the upper 1%, now plans to tax your “free” tuition. Starving education to grow the economy?

The GOP tax bill is a disaster for our district and our state and should be strenuously opposed.

Susan Beckett
Bellport, NY