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Residents speak out about dumping at Islip Town Board meeting

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, center, presides over

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci, center, presides over a meeting of the Islip Town Board in Islip on July 15, 2014. Credit: Ed Betz

Islip Town Supervisor Tom Croci spent his first board meeting since his return from military deployment in Afghanistan fielding complaints from residents seeking more accountability for the illegal dumping in Brentwood's Roberto Clemente park.

Before the town board meeting Tuesday, about two dozen residents and community activists rallied outside of Town Hall in Islip, calling for more information about the remediation of the park, where thousands of tons of contaminated fill were dumped. The Suffolk County district attorney's office is investigating who is responsible for the dumping there and at three other sites in town, while Islip is overseeing the park cleanup and recovery.

At the meeting, the board unanimously approved a resolution authorizing appropriation transfers, including $45,000 for "overtime costs incurred in monitoring and securing Roberto Clemente park." Councilwoman Trish Bergin Weichbrodt said the overtime occurred because of the initial need to secure the park immediately as a crime scene.

"We're installing cameras so that we can get away from that," she said. "But in the beginning, we had six people attempt to trespass . . . it was very important to maintain the integrity of the crime scene so we did have to have extra security on it."

Also at the meeting, Croci introduced a new component to the agenda: a regular public update of the remediation process.

Deputy Supervisor Eric Hofmeister said the town plans to submit for approval a completed work plan for asbestos removal to the state Department of Environmental Conservation by the end of August. He also noted that a townwide parks assessment recently resulted in the discovery of "300 feet of suspect materials" adjacent to a sidewalk in the Bay Shore Marina. He said testing revealed the materials to be "non-friable asbestos" -- or not airborne -- unrelated to that found in Clemente park, left sometime after superstorm Sandy. The material will be removed from the marina by a certified asbestos contractor, Hofmeister said.

Brentwood activist Nelsena Day used a public comment period to criticize the board's response to the dumping investigation in Croci's yearlong absence for military service. "We implore you to meet with your bosses -- our community -- and provide transparency and a detailed timeline to rectify these egregious crimes," she said.

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