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Huntington Town offers space to hospital for discharged patients

A portion of the Huntington senior center will

A portion of the Huntington senior center will be used by Huntington Hospital. Credit: Newsday/Steve Pfost

Huntington officials approved measures aimed at supporting hospital patients and making it easier for town staff to work from home during the pandemic. 

The town board authorized town Supervisor Chad Lupinacci to execute a three-month agreement at no charge with Huntington Hospital to use a portion of the Flanagan Center on Park Avenue to accommodate non-COVID-19 patients.

The audio-only meeting on Tuesday was held via videoconference in keeping with social distancing guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Lupinacci said.

“To say that these are trying times is a severe understatement, but we are doing everything we can to make sure that there is continuity of government and safety in the community,” Lupinacci said to open the meeting.

The hospital requested the use of a portion of the Flanagan Center — where the town senior center is located — to relocate and accommodate healthy, non-COVID-19 discharged patients who are awaiting transportation to their homes, Lupinacci said. The first-floor cafeteria area of the senior center and 15 parking spaces will be used by the hospital, he said

The board also purchased software to help town employees work more efficiently from home. A 45-day, $5,075 contract with Sandy, Utah-based NICE inContact for software was approved.

An amended resolution was approved authorizing Lupinacci to execute emergency agreements up to $20,000 that are deemed vital to dealing with the pandemic. As first proposed, the resolution did not have a ceiling on the amount of an emergency contract. Officials also approved the extension of agreements by up to 90 days for all town contracts set to expire on or before June 30 for public works or purchase of supplies, material or equipment.

A resolution aimed at helping some business owners and tenants was pulled from the agenda after some discussion. The resolution sought to allow the town attorney to negotiate a temporary reduction or deferment of rental payments due and owed on town properties during the pandemic. Examples of such properties include The Cinema Arts Centre, Thai USA restaurant and La Casa Café at Crab Meadow Beach in Northport.

“I prefer not to delegate the authority to do this to the town attorney,” town board member Mark Cuthbertson said. He said any requests should be presented to the entire board for discussion and approval. 

Also, the Wednesday Planning Board and the Thursday Zoning Board of Appeals meetings and their accompanying public hearings have been postponed until further notice.