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Islip Town Board divided over bonding for capital projects

Two Islip Town board members voted Tuesday to block nearly $15.5 million in bonding for capital projects that some town officials say are needed infrastructure improvements that have been neglected for years.

After presentations from the town comptroller and various commissioners whose departments would receive funding to carry out the projects, the first vote — for $2.577 million that would pay for vehicles, parking meters, tree replacements and other equipment — failed 3-2.

A supermajority, or four votes on the five-member board, is needed to pass bond resolutions.

Town Councilman Steven J. Flotteron, who with Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter and Councilman John C. Cochrane Jr. voted yes on the five resolutions, asked councilwomen Trish Bergin Weichbrodt and Mary Kate Mullen — who each voted no on all but one bond resolution — what could be changed in that particular bond in order to get it passed.

“I think we need to sharpen our pencils,” Bergin Weichbrodt said.

Mullen did not offer any comments during the contentious meeting.

Four other bond resolutions were rejected by Bergin Weichbrodt and Mullen, including one for $2.3 million for radios, repaving parking lots, heavy equipment, an emergency generator, boats and sidewalk improvements; $4.25 million for improvements to marinas and bulkheads; $5.5 million for a new animal shelter to replace the existing one in Bay Shore; and $800,000 for drainage improvements.

The sole bond resolution to pass was for $14,937,000. Of that, $8.5 million would be used for road improvements; $3 million for pool improvements at Roberto Clemente Park in Brentwood and other town pools; and the rest toward various town facility improvements and the purchase of heavy vehicles and equipment.

Bergin Weichbrodt said after the meeting that some of the spending is “excessive,” including the animal shelter and vehicles.

After the meeting, Carpenter said the board members received the bond documents at least a month in advance and “had ample time to review everything and get all their questions answered.”

“No one got back to me as far as sharpening one’s pencil,” Carpenter said.

Flotteron, Carpenter and Bergin Weichbrodt said after the meeting that they were amenable to finding common ground on the bond resolutions. Carpenter she will reintroduce the failed resolutions at the next town board meeting on April 25.

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