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Islip Town Board appoints new commissioner for its environmental department

Islip Town Hall is seen in this undated

Islip Town Hall is seen in this undated photo. Photo Credit: Erin Geismar

An environmental engineer -- who has previously held two commissioner appointments in Brookhaven and Hempstead towns -- was selected by Islip Town Board members Thursday as its new head of environmental control.

James H. Heil, 75, of Shoreham, will assume his position as the commissioner of the Department of Environmental Control on Nov. 16. Appointed unanimously by the Islip Town Board, Heil will fill the vacancy left by Eric Hofmeister, who resigned from the town Oct. 2 to take a position with former Islip supervisor, now-state Sen. Tom Croci (R-Sayville), as his district director.

Heil, who was commissioner of sanitation in Hempstead from 1984-88 and commissioner of waste management in Brookhaven from 1988-95, according to his resume, will oversee in Islip a total of 104 employees: 74 in the town's DEC and 30 in its Resource Recovery Agency. He will be salaried at $101,000, the going rate for commissioners in Islip Town.

"I'm anxious to get started and it looks like there's a lot of ideas out there and I'm looking forward to being a part of it," said Heil, who has worked as an environmental engineer for Hauppauge-based Cashin Associates PC since 1995. "I'm ready to go."

Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter, who was elected to her first full term on Tuesday, called Heil "delightful."

Five candidates applied for the position and were interviewed, but "no one had the experience he did," Carpenter said.

"His credentials are impeccable," Carpenter said. "He has that municipal experience, so he will really do well for us."

Before Heil's appointment, Islip Town Board members passed a $221,282,681 spending plan for 2016. The only change to the proposed budget was an addition of $50,000 to the Islip Arts Council, a line that was inadvertently left out, a town spokeswoman said.

No residents signed up to speak during the brief scheduled public hearing, which lasted only a few minutes. The board members unanimously voted to adopt the budget, which has an increase that is less than the state property tax cap of 0.73 percent. The average household's town property taxes will go up by $19.15 per year, Carpenter said.

Last year, the town board under Croci passed a last-minute 5.8 percent tax increase, amounting to an average of $25.71 per homeowner per year. Carpenter touted her "transparency" in this year's budget process, including posting the budget online. "There was a lot of work that went into this budget," Carpenter said after the hearing.

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