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Brookhaven moves up inspections, code work in Mastic Beach

Brookhaven Town officials will take over some functions of the disbanding Village of Mastic Beach on Tuesday — two months ahead of schedule.

The town will assume tasks such as building inspections and zoning code enforcement that the village has performed since its incorporation seven years ago. Mastic Beach will cease to exist as a village on Dec. 31, after residents voted last year to disband.

Brookhaven officials had planned to take over village functions on Jan. 1, but village staff shortages forced the town to move up the timetable to this week, Town Councilman Dan Panico said.

“For months now, they have been a below-bare-bones government in the village,” Panico said in an interview. “The saddest thing is getting phone calls from residents of Mastic Beach . . . You can’t run a village with so many problems on a shoestring.”

Mayor Robert Miller said village officials agreed to transfer some powers to Brookhaven because of staff shortages that left only a “skeleton crew” of about five or six people working at Village Hall.

“There were applications that were coming in that we just couldn’t keep up with,” Miller said.

He said town officials will take over about 90 open code enforcement cases from the village, adding that two or three village employees have been transferred to town hall to help with the transition.

Town officials also plan to immediately inspect abandoned houses, Panico said, adding that any found to be unsafe could be demolished. The town Planning and Environmental Department also will begin accepting applications for new construction projects this week, he said.

Former Village Trustee Christopher Anderson said he and other residents are frustrated that some village services have nearly come to a standstill. He said he cannot get village permits to repair damage at his home caused by superstorm Sandy in 2012.

“It’s disheartening,” Anderson said. “I’m kind of sitting around waiting for the town to take back over. . . . I have to go through zoning boards and planning boards, and those boards have pretty much been disbanded.”

Even before the vote to disband, code enforcement and permits had been among the few services offered by the village. Now some residents say even those aren’t available. Other services such as trash pickup are performed by private carters working under contract to the village.

Layoffs last year reduced the village payroll to three full-time employees and about 15 part-time workers. Panico said Mastic Beach’s pending demise makes it “hard to find people to work for the village.”

Village Hall is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday, according to the Mastic Beach website. But some village tasks — such as accepting building and rental permit applications — are available only for two hours on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings, and 2 1⁄2 hours on Wednesday evenings.

“It’s abundantly clear to me that the residents of the Village of Mastic Beach are going to need the Town of Brookhaven to step in sooner rather than later,” Panico said. “We constantly hear the frustration from residents in the area about limited hours and limited opportunities.”

Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the trash pickup service in the village.

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