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Riverhead Town looks to better track funding for projects

New Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith addresses the

New Riverhead Town Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith addresses the audience after being administered the oath of office on Jan. 1, 2018 Credit: Joseph D. Sullivan

Riverhead Town officials are considering implementing a streamlined process to help keep better track of the source, recipients and spending for projects.

At its Thursday work session, the town board discussed creating “fiscal impact statements” to ensure there is money set aside for proposed projects, such as building improvements, to make sure those projects move forward, said Supervisor Laura Jens-Smith.

She said previous town projects had been approved by officials but were later stalled or delayed because money had not been allocated to them.

“That is what the purpose of this is, to prevent those kind of things from happening,” Jens-Smith said of the fiscal impact statements.

The new policy would mandate that town agencies present proposals for projects like improvements and new programs, and present the town beforehand with a description of the project’s purpose, source of funding and total cost over five years as part of the planning stage.

Jens-Smith on Friday cited examples of past projects that had encountered delays, including the proposed installation of new boilers at Town Hall and new bathrooms for a proposed Day Haven adult care service, to highlight the need for a streamlined process.

“This is to show where the money is coming from, where the money is going to and how we’re spending the money,” Jens-Smith said.

Councilman Jim Wooten said he had no problem with creating such statements, but suggested requiring a provision that would allow for certain emergency allocations of money if an agency needed it.

The board indicated members were in favor of creating the impact statements, but Jens-Smith said the earliest the board could create a resolution for the process would be at its next regular meeting Tuesday.

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