The Suffolk County Legislature will allow a nonprofit to run a bed-and-breakfast inside the Cedar Island Lighthouse once it is renovated, to raise funds for the lighthouse’s maintenance.
The legislature voted 17-0 on Tuesday to extend an existing license agreement with the nonprofit, Lighthouse Inc., through 2029. The agreement allows the group to use two rooms in the lighthouse for a bed-and-breakfast.
Lighthouse Inc. must first raise roughly $2 million to renovate the interior of the lighthouse, which was gutted by fire in 1974, said Michael Leahy, the organization’s president. He said he expects the renovations to take years.
Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk), who sponsored the bill, said the agreement will also allow the nonprofit to open the historic lighthouse, which is closed, to visitors.
“Normally I don’t like any kind of a commercial use at parks,” he said. “But it’s necessary to have the funding to maintain the building, and as part of this agreement it has to be open to the public.”
The first floor would be open to visitors, while upper rooms would be used for the bed-and-breakfast, he said.
The lighthouse, which was built in 1868, is at Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton. It served guided ships sailing into Sag Harbor until it was decommissioned in 1934.
— WILL JAMES
S&P upgrades town’s credit rating
Standard & Poor’s Rating Services upgraded Southampton Town’s credit rating to AAA, the highest designation, on Tuesday. The town was previously rated one notch lower, at AA1.
Standard & Poor’s officials said the town had strong management and a healthy economy.
“The stable outlook reflects our opinion of a town that has very strong economic factors that are likely to keep its economic score very high for the foreseeable future,” Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Steve C. Tencer said in a statement.
Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said surpluses for the past several years have allowed the town to begin paying down old debt.
“It’s an affirmation of the agenda that we set 4 1/2 years ago, in terms of bringing back the fiscal health of the Town of Southampton,” said Throne-Holst, who took office in 2010.
The upgrade will affect $18 million in debt and save the town at least $75,000 a year, said Jennifer Garvey, a spokeswoman for the town.
In a June 2 presentation to Standard & Poor’s, town officials highlighted recent increases in tax revenue, home prices and building permits issued, according to a copy of the presentation.
— WILL JAMES
Annual community cleanup on Sunday
A Lindenhurst group on Sunday plans to hold its second annual community cleanup.
Lindenhurst Community Cares Coalition’s Operation Clean Sweep will kick off from William Rall Elementary School at 10 a.m. Registration starts at 9 a.m.
Four teams of volunteers will fan out to clean debris from streets and playgrounds, including: William Rall Playground, Zahn’s Playground, Kelly Eiring-Cummo Playground and along Copiague Road.
Safety rules will be in effect and trash bags, gloves and medical waste receptacles will be provided. Refreshments donated by local businesses will be served.
Community service credits are available for the cleanup, but those 16 years old and younger must be accompanied by an adult.
In addition, Suffolk County police from 10 a.m. to noon plan to host a “Shed the Meds” event at William Rall, where individuals can drop off old or unused prescription medications. Free drug-testing kits also will be available courtesy of Legis. Kevin McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst).
Those interested in participating are encouraged to register online at www.lindycares.org. Individuals can also register the day of the event from 9 to 10 a.m. The cleanup will take place rain or shine.
— DENISE M. BONILLA
Film on texting and driving gets pledge
Hempstead Town officials pledged $25,000 to a pair of Bellmore twin sisters who filmed a public service announcement to deter texting and driving.
Town Supervisor Kate Murray announced the campaign Wednesday at John F. Kennedy High School with Principal Lorraine Poppe and the students who founded the project, Emily and Anna Lawrence, both 17.
With town funding, the 30-second ads will air 386 times on 10 Cablevision networks until July 13, Murray said. Cablevision also agreed to provide additional free airtime. Newsday is owned by Cablevision.
The video spot produced by the town shows the teens texting and driving and alludes to an accident while the driver is not paying attention. A billboard was also unveiled at the school, reading, “Arrive alive, don’t text and drive.”
The two teens formed the group STANDD, “Stop Texting and Driving,” and urge teens to sign a pledge to drive safely. Nationwide, 11 teens die daily from texting and driving, Murray said. Texting causes 1.6 million accidents annually and 25 percent of all car accidents, Murray said.
— JOHN ASBURY
Taxpayer assistance outreach planned
Nassau County’s Department of Assessment plans to present next month a taxpayer assistance outreach program in several town communities.
Equipped with computers linked to the county’s database, Department of Assessment staff will process property tax exemption applications on-site for senior citizens, people on disability, veterans, volunteer firefighters and emergency medical technicians.
The staff will also review home improvement exemptions, the Basic School Tax Relief (STAR) — for residents who own a home, condominium or cooperative apartment with an annual household income of less than $500,000 — and Enhanced STAR, for senior citizens aged 65 or older with annual incomes of less than $83,300.
Taxpayers can pick up or drop off their applications. Exemption specialists will provide assistance and answer questions.
The program will be offered from 1 to 3 p.m. at the following libraries on: July 9 at the Levittown Public Library, 1 Bluegrass Lane; July 11 at Bellmore Memorial, 2288 Bedford Ave.; July 17 at Wantagh, 3285 Park Ave.; July 18 at Long Beach, 111 W. Park Ave.; July 23 at East Meadow, 1886 Front St.; July 25 at Merrick Public Library, 2279 Merrick Ave.; July 29 at North Merrick, 1691 Meadowbrook Rd.; and July 30 at Oceanside Public Library, 30 Davison Ave.
For more information, contact the Department of Assessment Exemptions Division at 516-571-1500 or visit www.mynassauproperty.com.
— AISHA AL-MUSLIM