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Town of Islip OKs bonds for animal shelter, airport upgrades

A $3.6 million bond approved last week by

A $3.6 million bond approved last week by the Town of Islip will pay for terminal improvements at the town-owned Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma. Photo Credit: James Carbone

The Town of Islip will build a new animal shelter after the town board passed a $4.6 million bond to pay for the facility.

The board voted unanimously last week in favor of the bond, along with a $1.4 million bond to pay for various improvements and equipment purchases, a $110,000 bond to pay for radios for the Department of Public Safety and sidewalk repairs, a $3.6 million bond for terminal improvements at the town-owned Long Island MacArthur Airport, and a $1 million bond for a fire communication system at the airport.

In a news release, town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said the town’s future was bolstered by the bond approvals. “I’m encouraged that the funding for these improvements to the Town’s infrastructure was approved by the Town Board; however, more remains to be done to bring our infrastructure to a level that is needed,” Carpenter said.

The board, at its Sept. 19 meeting, rejected a $4.25 million bond for marina improvements and bulkhead repairs. Councilwomen Trish Bergin Weichbrodt and Mary Kate Mullen voted against the resolution, which required approval by more than half of the five-person board. Carpenter and Councilmen Steve Flotteron and John Cochran voted for the $4.25 million resolution, which Carpenter’s statement said was to help improve the Bay Shore marina.

Carpenter will likely reintroduce the marina improvement bond at a later date for approval, town officials said. “Right now the Town enjoys the highest possible bond rating that a government can achieve, Aaa, allowing us to borrow at very favorable market interest rates. Our families and businesses have a right to expect better facilities and infrastructure than they have had to endure in the past, and there is no better time than now for the Town to allocate the funding that would finally make these goals a reality,” Carpenter said in the news release.

In May, Bergin Weichbrodt and Mullen previously voted against an earlier incarnation of the animal shelter bond, which estimated the cost of a new shelter at $5.5 million. Bergin Weichbrodt said she decided to vote in favor of the new bond because of the lower cost of the proposed shelter.

“By turning on the pressure on Supervisor Carpenter, we were all able to come to a solution on how to get the price down. I felt satisfied,” Bergin Weichbrodt said, calling the new bond resolution “financial relief on the taxpayer. I was also contemplating the costs to refurbish the building, which were quite extensive. We really did exhaust all financial opportunities.”

Carpenter said she asked James Heil, town commissioner of the Department of Environmental Control, to revise the plans for the shelter to save money, as well as securing a $500,000 grant from state Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Bay Shore) for the shelter. The entire town board also signed a pledge to use $1 million from the future sale of the site of the existing animal shelter at 210 S. Denver Ave. in Bay Shore to defray the cost of the new shelter.

Mullen did not respond to a phone call for comment.

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