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East Quogue residents vote against forming village

Incorporating would have given East Quogue residents greater

Incorporating would have given East Quogue residents greater control over land use issues, but would have come with a slight tax increase. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

East Quogue residents have voted against becoming the first new Long Island village created in nearly a decade.

Hamlet residents on Thursday voted 642-889 against incorporation, which would have given locals greater control over land use issues, but would have come with a slight tax increase. About 44% of the 3,468 eligible voters cast a ballot.

The incorporation effort was spearheaded by a group known as the East Quogue Village Exploratory Committee, which had said that issues like a proposed controversial golf course community once known as The Hills would be better addressed by local representatives than by Southampton Town government. That proposal is currently before the Southampton Town Planning Board.

Under their plan the village would have overseen building permits and code enforcement, but contract with the town for services like highway and police departments.

“Our opponents had an easier time selling undocumented fear than we had trying to sell a thoroughly documented, verified set of facts to support incorporation,” said exploratory committee co-chair Karen Kooi. “We may be saddened by the outcome, but we are so very proud of everyone who came out to vote. We respect the outcome.”

She said the committee has not decided if it will pursue incorporation again.

Their proposed 2020-21 fiscal year $841,602 budget planned for an estimated $243,000 to be collected in property taxes, $245,000 in revenue from the sale of building permits and $250,000 in state aid with the rest raised through zoning, planning and clerk’s fees. It called for three full-time positions as well as a mayor and board of trustees who would not earn a salary.

The committee estimated the owner of a home worth $500,000 would pay an additional  $30 per year in taxes, according to a draft budget posted on its website.

Critics of the plan, which included members of the East Quogue Civic Association, said the added layer of government was unnecessary.

“It was something that really was half-baked,” said resident Bill Kearns, who voted against incorporation. “I don’t think it was finished correctly.”

If passed, East Quogue would have become the first new Long Island village since Mastic Beach incorporated in 2010. Mastic Beach Village dissolved in 2017 amid political infighting, a projected tax spike and federal discrimination lawsuits.

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