East Hampton Town Board members are considering having a consultant hired to conduct detailed studies of the business areas of East Hampton’s hamlets do a closer review of the factors that drive their economies.
In October, Ashfield, Massachusetts-based firm Dodson & Flinker Inc. was hired to do hamlet studies for Wainscott, Springs, East Hampton, Amagansett and the downtown and dock areas of Montauk at a cost of $285,000. The board is expected to vote Aug. 18 on whether to pay the firm $17,450 more for the additional work.
“They would be looking more at the business end of what’s happening, particularly in Montauk with its two business areas,” Councilwoman Sylvia Overby, the board’s liaison for the hamlet study, said in an interview Wednesday. “We’re trying to get more numbers. There’s a lot of surface things [coming from the study so far], and we want to get more of an economic base to it.”
Existing land use, zoning, traffic, transportation, open space and recreation, as well as environmental issues, infrastructure and shopping habits are being studied.
Overby noted that residents who are participating in the hamlet studies, which began at the start of the year and will help plan the future of their business areas, have asked about aspects of their economies that officials have not been able to answer.
“The citizens were asking for things and we couldn’t find those numbers,” she said.
Councilman Peter Van Scoyoc said in an interview Tuesday that things such as the sales tax receipts for Montauk, where tourism is centered, would be studied.
“We want to see how much business is actually taking place and how much is generated by tourists, the local homeowners, second homeowners, day trippers . . . what drives the economy,” Van Scoyoc said. “We want to get a better understanding of how the local economy functions, and this will help us see what’s going on for long-term planning and services.”
Overby said that if Dodson & Flinker is hired to gather the additional information she hopes the timeline for completion of the study will remain on track and that all findings will be in by the end of the year.