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Letter: What’s the August 20 Vote All About?

On August 20th the Town of Oyster Bay (the “Town”) is asking you to decide whether it should sell a 54-acre parcel currently used by the Department of Public Works (the “DPW Parcel”).  The driving force behind the sale would be to decrease the Town’s debt in order to prevent a downgrade in the Town’s Bond rating.  

 

The influx of cash from the sale (approximately $32 million dollars) will be a temporary alleviation of the Town’s fiscal problems.

 

Although the Town has deemed the DPW Parcel to be surplus, the Town desires that any sale transaction for the DPW Parcel contains a lease component whereby the Town will lease the DPW Parcel for 5 to 10 years after the actual sale from the purchaser so that the Town may continue to use the DPW Parcel for necessary storage and related operations.  Query whether the Town will need to purchase another site to continue such operations upon the expiration of its lease.

 

Your “yes” vote means that you believe the Town should sell the DPW Parcel to a consortium of developers of area malls and a residential community developer.  This consortium states that it does not want another developer to purchase the DPW Parcel and build a shopping mall that would compete with their area malls.  Instead, the consortium has indicated that it plans to build a mixed-use development after the Town lease expires.

 

 A “no” vote means that you believe that the Town should not sell the DPW Parcel to the consortium.  Taubman – a mid-west based mall developer would like you to vote “no”. 

Taubman owns the adjacent 38 acre parcel and has been trying to develop a mall on that property for almost 20 years – if Taubman is able to purchase the DPW site in an open bidding process, they will more than double the space they currently own to build an even larger mall.

 

If the argument is to sell it to someone other than the mall developer (Taubman) to prevent the mall developer from buying it, then as long as the Town owns it and as long as the Town does not sell it, the mall developer will not be able to buy it, if it is “not for sale”.

 

The majority of the population does not want the mall, nor do I, nor the East Norwich Civic Association, but do we really want the Town of Oyster Bay to sell off such an asset to close a very deep financial hole.

 

How can it be surplus land owned by the Town if the Town still needs to use it for the next ten years?  Will the taxpayers ten years out have to pay for replacement of this acreage at what hopes to be a better economy at potentially twice the price of replacement?

 

As complicated as this whole matter appears, it is really very simple:  a Yes vote allows the Town to sell off an asset that they are using to partially close a financial gap that the public will need to find the funds to replace sometime down the road. Or, Vote No, not to sell it, neither to the consortium nor to the highest bidder (potentially Taubman).

 

Matthew T. Meng, President

 

East Norwich Civic Association


News

“I didn’t know I needed my own Teddy Bear,” said a woman after the first annual Teddy’s Taste of the West dinner and fundraiser at Canterbury Ales on March 19.

Members were given an authentic Teddy Bear as a surprise gift at the end of the evening. As they say, membership has its privileges and that includes a June 11 event when Ken Burns will come to share a preview of his new film on three Roosevelts. Burns’ film explores the political and family ties between President Theodore Roosevelt, President Franklin Roosevelt and his wife, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, a Roosevelt in her own right.  

The preliminary 2014-15 school budget was adopted at last Tuesday night’s Oyster Bay-East Norwich school board meeting. The proposed budget, which came in at a figure of $54,578,478, is a 2.01 percent difference from the 2013-14 final budget figure of $53,504,111. With a budget to budget change of $1,074,367, it is the lowest expenditure increase in the last 15 years. No programs were cut as a result of balancing this budget.

“The biggest change in budget numbers is in the area of salaries and wages with a budget to budget increase of $683,428,” said School Superintendent Dr. Laura Seinfeld.


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

LI Sound Vocal Jazz Ensemble

Saturday, April 19

Annual Egg-stravaganza

Saturday, April 19

Palliative Care

Wednesday, April 23 



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com