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April 11, 2017
Saving a Gazillion
Pictures are worth a thousand words, and the pictures
of the Gazillion at Bellport Beach on the Bellport Village Residents FB page
Mr. Struyk’s letter is right – had more thoughtful heads been involved in the decision making, the Gazillion could have been located in a more secure spot.
But that’s really not the main point. Rather, the better than $560 thousand spent on this monstrosity should never have been spent at all, and any funds spent to “save” the Gazillion at this point – much like the $30 thousand in bracing spent last year because, as Mayor Fell said “well, when it drops into the ocean in a few years at least no one will be able to say we didn’t try” – is simply throwing more money into the ocean.
They say bad decisions come in threes. Here, our Village Board made a bad decision to rebuild the Gazillion forward on the dune; then there was a bad decision to “re-brace” it and waste more money; and there was another bad decision, the decision to spend approximately $530 thousand on the initial construction – regardless of who was supposed to pay for it. It simply wasn’t necessary at that cost, a gold-plated faucet – nice to have but wholly unnecessary for its purpose. This points out a fourth bad decision though, one that made all the successive ones possible – and it’s ours: We, the Village residents, put the Feckless Fell Administration in office.
The FFA has a love affair with wasteful spending: From proposals to rip up this village and spend nearly $20 Million for sewers that aren’t needed; to proposing to “raise” the level of the marina by as much as two feet; to hiring a $30 thousand sewer study prepared by the sewage treatment plant’s engineers to justify the cost; to spending an additional $30 thousand to re-brace the Gazillion after it was clear that its location was problematic; to financing and rebuilding an “historic” gazebo at the dock for an excessive cost; to hiring a “free” landscaper to aerate the marina park and who then cuts the newly laid underground cables causing the need for costly emergency repairs; to relocating the newly erected electric service at the marina because – as they admitted at a board meeting - no one had reviewed the plans and they didn’t like the location; to alienating our neighbors; to doubling the property tax levied on the residents in the past 10 years; to trying to soak the residents by creating a new tax on renting residential property; to putting the Village in a place where it has to bear two years of debt and pay off a portion of the principal funds borrowed to build the Gazillion because the Village’s paperwork isn’t sufficient to support FEMA paying it back – these and other bad decisions and plans are the legacies of the FFA.
So, how do you save a Gazillion? – Get rid of the guys who see no problem in spending a Gazillion in the first place. The three of them are up for de-election this year.
J. Lee Snead, Esq.
April 11, 2017
I told you so. Read my past letters. What a disgrace.
Fell should be fired!
April 9, 2017
Castles in the Sand
Wash away; “It’s elementary, my dear Watson.”
There was a modest deck with benches midway on the walkway to HoHum Beach. It blew to Kansas in 2013. The Mayor and Board of Trustees decided to rebuild. Reports then were that the Corp of Engineers strongly advised rebuilding in the same place. But NOOOOoooo. Mayor Fell and the majority of his Board wanted the new “pavilion” smack on top of the dune by-the-then-beach. Trustee Rosenberg announced he had lined up a low interest loan for about $600,000+ at a bank in Patchogue. News articles followed stages of construction, especially about the marine company driving multiple pylons 26 feet into the sand. Next came the floor boards and benches. Lastly came the massive pergola roof, normally built with single sun filtering slates, but our new pavilion has triple thick sun slates which resulted in a very top heavy structure, more like an upside down ark than a sun shelter.
Last spring about 6 feet of the sand under the pavilion floor washed away and one heard the Corp suggested adding criss-cross steel bands to the pylons; done.
This spring, if you go to Bellport Village’s Facebook page, you see new photos of the pavilion at Ho Hum – it looks like a giant ostrich with its long legs stuck in the sand about ankle height. The ocean has washed away much more sand. I would estimate the pavilion floor is three-man heights – about 18 feet – up in the air, with the high tide waves washing completely under the pavilion many times each hour. The top heavy ark pavilion is now only stuck in the sand the remaining say 7ish feet. The slanted stairs going down to the beach end in mid-air. The Board is going to have to declare the pavilion is too unsafe for human traffic, if it survives to Memorial Day. It could just tip over and crash down into Ho Hum Beach remnants any time it seems to my non-engineers eyes. People who do manage to boat through the Inlet and go by the ocean to a beach should not be near the giant pavilion because if it does tip over with people below, it would kill and injury many.
Too bad the Corp of Engineers’ suggestion to build it in the gully at the foot of the dune wasn’t followed. And I understand FEMA will not release any funds spent on the dune-top pavilion for two years from final construction – not good news for we taxpayers (nor lessors of homes here for 4 or 5 figures.) A student of American History could call this “Mayor Fell’s Folly”.
On the bright side, it seems the Board will save money by not bringing the ferry out of storage, not hiring the Captain, not hiring the local high school youths to assist boarding and debarking the ferry, and not hiring those non-resident lifeguards because the beach isn’t a beach anymore. Maybe a trustee with ambition could seek permission from Davis Park to dock the ferry there a few times a day if the situation at Ho Hum remains or worsens by Memorial Day.
The Mayor and two trustees are up for re-election in June. One factor to consider is their demonstrated judgment (lapses).
April 7, 2017
After 37 years, we sadly and embarrassingly had to
close Long Island Flower Garden & Florist in East Patchogue on December
31st, 2016. The center has been proudly growing and selling plants, flowers
and landscaping for over 90 years when “Pop” Miskosky founded “The Flower
Garden! Reasons range from years of on/off health battles (happily in the
past!), extreme weather wiping out huge amounts of prime time selling
periods, always present healthy competition, to unfairly enabled competition
that is unhealthy for your community. I know full well that all decision
makers need to work and show local entities such as local Fire Departments
ways to fundraise by partnering with, instead of competing, with local
businesses. For 37 years I have lived my business slogan, “Shop local, we
depend on one another”. Moving forward, I do see solutions developing with
hopeful new owners coming to rescue our time honored 3 acre horticultural
center. If you have interest for a one of kind opportunity, stop by! My
brother Dan who owns Designscapes Design/Build Landscaping relocated locally
on South Country Rd and is still very active and available. If you need
garden flowers, plants, supplies or florist services, support your local
professional businesses such as, Fantastic Gardens, Tall Tree & Mayers
Florist Shops and Vanderzalm Greenhouses. When our flower center blossoms
again, of course shop and enjoy this special place located in your own
community backyard. To friends such as Judy, Larry, Charles, Cynthia,
George, John and the thousands of other community friends & customers who
have supported us over the years...thank you!
March 26, 2017
South Country Library Trustee Election
The upcoming election on Tuesday, April 4, 2017,
offers the opportunity to elect three (3) candidates as Trustees for the
South Country Library. It is important to elect Trustees who value the South
Country Library and its potential while, at the same time, acting in a
fiscally responsible manner to benefit residents and taxpayers in the South
Country Library district.
Fortunately, we have three (3) candidates who can serve as responsible representatives of our interests: Sheryl ("Sherry") Binnington, Annelies Kamran, and Cameron Trent. Sherry has been a tireless advocate for Bellport throughout her lifetime and in her previous role as Village Trustee. She can use her experience to monitor the budget of the Library while promoting programs to benefit our residents. Annelies, a current Library Trustee, has consistently recognized the importance of maintaining and enhancing Library resources and being fiscally responsible. Cameron brings a new perspective to the Library Board: Encourage students and young adults to use the Library, thereby increasing the number of residents dedicated to learning, researching, communicating and giving back to our community.
My vote will be cast for these three (3) candidates on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at South Country Library between the hours 9:30 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. I urge all registered voters in our South Country Library District to vote for these candidates, either in person at the polls at South Country Library, Station Road, Bellport on April 4, 2017 or, prior to that, by absentee ballot available at the Clerk, South Country School District, Dunton Avenue, East Patchogue.
E. Anne Hayes
March 15, 2017
State of Emergency
Upon receiving Mayor Fell’s State of Emergency
proclamation Monday evening, I was aghast at his statement that “....all
vehicles must be off Village streets from midnight on March 14, until noon
on March 15”. I initially took that to mean NO vehicles can be driven on any
public road in the Village during that time period. After thinking about it
for a bit, I decided that he probably meant no vehicles can be parked or
otherwise left on Village streets for that period. Hopefully the Mayor will
make that a bit clearer next time. Assuming of course that my interpretation
Otherwise kudos to the Highway Dept for another great job of clearing our roads during the storm!
February 26, 2017
Woodland Park Water Service
After two years of prodding and visits by SCWA
including digging up our water service, the SCWA has scheduled a fix of our
water service. They tested and say our water pressure is good but or volume
is insufficient for fire protection. The solution is a new main on our
street. The highway department has already received their request for
permits to open the street. Looking forward to better water volume. My
thanks to resident Herman Miller for his essential assistance in moving the
SCWA along. Overall they were helpful and cooperative.