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East Quogue residents mull tax levy for Village Green upkeep

The East Quogue Village Green seen on Aug.

The East Quogue Village Green seen on Aug. 10, 2016. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskervas

East Quogue residents are mulling whether to create a special tax levy to pay for beautifying and maintaining the hamlet’s park and Main Street.

A group of 15 to 20 residents who make up the East Quogue Park District Exploratory Committee are pushing to create a park district to take better care of the East Quogue Village Green, which some locals in recent months pointed out on social media needs improved maintenance, according to Brian Babcock, an East Quogue resident and committee member.

“The town does a great job over there at the park, but they’re really limited on what they can and can’t do as far as man hours and time and resources and financial ability, so some things they just can’t get to,” Babcock said. “It’s the central point of our town. It’s the focal point of the area where people gather.”

To fund the park maintenance plan, the group is suggesting that residents raise the money themselves — roughly $28,000 to start, according to their proposal — via taxes assessed, levied and collected from residents to create a park district. The hamlet population was 4,757 in the 2010 U.S. Census. The district would include Main Street in East Quogue, the Village Green, a Southampton Town park, and, if funds allow, the town-owned East Quogue Marine Park on Bay Avenue.

A public hearing on the issue last month at East Quogue Elementary School drew about 50 people. Babcock said residents largely support the proposal. The committee is aiming to have the measure on the ballot for East Quogue residents in the November election.

Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman, who was at the meeting, said recently that he would support the proposal if enough East Quogue residents favor it.

“If they want to go above and beyond normal park maintenance and get higher landscaping attention, they can choose to do that,” Schneiderman said.

Babcock said he is confident the proposal will pass.

“Some people may vote ‘No,’ but with the information we’re giving out to the taxpayers, they’re going to be more inclined to vote ‘Yes,’ ” he said.

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