DEC cleanup at Superfund site

The Department of Environmental Conservation is seeking public comment about a proposed $5.5 million amended remedy to address contamination at the Powers Chemco site under New York’s State Superfund Program.

The DEC has scheduled a meeting Jan. 30 to discuss the property at 71 Charles St. and accept comments. The 7 p.m. session will be at the Sea Cliff Village Main Library, 300 Sea Cliff Ave.

The agency will accept written comments through Feb. 17.

The DEC is proposing to remove approximately 10,000 cubic yards of contaminated subsurface soils and replace it with clean fill, followed by chemical oxidation of residual contaminated groundwater.

After a 1991 cleanup, some contaminants remained, including toluene, xylene, ethylbenzene, methyl ethyl ketone and benzene. Groundwater samples also detected several metals, including arsenic, chromium, lead and mercury.

Additional details are available at DEC/2014/01/17/file_attachments/263637/Powers ChemcoAmendedRemedyProposed.pdf.

Garbage bags, tire disposal costs to rise

The cost of garbage bags used by Shelter Island homeowners who take their trash to the town transfer station will increase next month.

The 15-gallon mini-bags will go from $1.25 to $1.50; 30-gallon bags from $2.50 to $3; and 45-gallon bags from $3.75 to $4.50. The increase is due to the rising costs of disposing of the garbage, all of which is carted off the island.

The town will also be increasing the charge for tire disposal from 15 cents per pound to 20 cents per pound. The changes, approved last week by the town board, begin Feb. 1. — MITCHELL FREEDMAN

Town board delivers some nice surprises

The East Hampton Town Board’s first meeting of the year went so smoothly last week that even some critics were left pleasantly surprised.

Newly elected Supervisor Larry Cantwell had promised board resolutions would be posted online early enough that town residents could review them at least a day or two before the actual meeting, and they were. And he promised that there would be no “walk-on” resolutions — items not listed on the agenda but that were put to a vote anyway — unless the circumstance warranted it, such as having to meet a deadline for a grant.

For Springs resident David Buda, the most surprising change came after he complained about a resolution to allow retired town employees with at least 10 years of service to be vested for health benefits.

The town already gives those retired employees health benefits. Cantwell said the resolution was offered so that the wording of the town and state eligibility requirements would be the same.

Buda, who regularly finds problems in town board resolutions, used his allotted three minutes of comment to say people would not know if the proposal would cost the town money because no financial impact statement was attached. When the vote on the measure began, Cantwell paused for a moment, acknowledged that Buda had a valid point, and asked that the measure be tabled until a financial impact statement could be prepared.

“I hope it’s a sign of things to come,” Buda said. “I’m pleased.” — MITCHELL FREEDMAN

Vigil, service event set for homeless

The Long Island Coalition for the Homeless is holding its annual candlelight vigil next month.

“Have a Heart for the Homeless” will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Feb. 13 at Roosevelt Hall at Farmingdale State College.

The event puts the homeless in touch with service providers and includes a candlelighting ceremony, music, food and free haircuts.

The agency is also seeking sponsors and donations for the event. For more information, contact the coalition at 516-742-7770 or

Cellphone drive to benefit soldiers

Legis. DuWayne Gregory (D-Amityville) is sponsoring a cellphone drive to benefit U.S. soldiers serving overseas.

The effort is part of the Cell Phones for Soldiers Program, a national nonprofit organization that aims to keep families connected with their loved ones serving in foreign countries. Donated cellphones are recycled, and the proceeds are used to purchase international calling cards.

Since 2004, Cell Phones for Soldiers has recycled more than 11 million devices and provided more than 200 million minutes of free talk time to military personnel deployed overseas, according to the group’s website. The organization says it mails about 8,000 calling cards a week.

Residents can drop off their old cellphones at Gregory’s district office at 15 Albany Ave. For additional information, contact his office at 631-854-1111. — DENISE M. BONILLA

Audit looks at school district’s ordering

An audit by the State Comptroller’s Office of the way the Hampton Bays school district processes bills showed that 10 out of 25 randomly selected purchase order claims were not formally approved before goods and services were ordered.

The district got generally good marks for the way it dealt with its purchases. “District officials have established adequate controls over the claims processing function ... the claims auditor generally conducts a thorough and deliberate audit of each claim,” the report stated.

School officials said they generally agreed with the comptroller’s recommendations and were developing a corrective action plan, including sending letters to all its vendors outlining the state policy on purchases.

But district officials added that several of the purchase orders cited were “confirming PO’s,” orders for purchases so small that drawing up a purchase order beforehand would cost more than the service itself.
The district said other purchase order problems involved special-education, where the full cost of state-mandated services is often not known until after the services are provided.

The audit looked at the period from July 1, 2012, to Aug. 31, 2013. The district paid $17,972,830 during that period, including one purchase for $17,960 for special-education services billed on July 28, 2012. The purchase order for it was dated Sept. 5, 2012.

The auditor concluded that the purchases appeared to be “reasonable and legitimate,” but that purchase orders filed after a service was provided should be limited to emergency situations.

The Hampton Bays school district has about 2,350 students and 300 employees in its three schools.

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