FLEMING LEGISLATIVE ROUND-UP
Sag Harbor, NY- Customarily, each Legislative District Office takes a turn “hosting” a General Meeting of the County Legislature. Responsibilities of the host includes securing a performer to sing the National Anthem, obtaining a spiritual guide to lead the invocation, and retaining a business to provide craft services--each from their own district. In a traditional year, Legislator Fleming takes her turn hosting a General Meeting of the Legislature at the Riverside County Complex. While the era of working-from-home has presented its share of challenges, as host, Legislator Fleming welcomed the opportunity showcase the talent, wisdom, and generosity of people in the Second Legislative District for whom the distance to attend a General Meeting in-person is a logistical hurdle. This year, the Second Legislative Office was able to invite to the Tuesday March 2, 2021 General Meeting eighth grade student Mackenzie Lenahan, who joined the meeting remotely from the Montauk Middle School to sing the national anthem and Reverend Gale Williams of East Quogue to perform the invocation. The funds that would have been used to retain the services of a local eatery instead were donated to the Children’s Museum of the East End to support their food pantry, which provides almost 100 families weekly with fresh produce and dry goods. Additionally, a proclamation was presented to Marine Sgt. Marcus Santana, a resident of Flanders, for his heroic off-duty save of an elderly pedestrian who collapsed while trying to walk through the Riverside Traffic Circle.
Revisions to Suffolk County Aquiculture Lease Program
After a two-year-long process, which included extensive input from the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program Ten-Year Review Advisory Group, government officials, experts, bay user groups and the public, the Suffolk County Department of Economic Development has completed its Ten-Year-Review of the Suffolk County Shellfish Aquaculture Lease Program, also known as SCALP.
SCALP provides an opportunity to aspiring and established aqua-culturists to secure access to County-owned underwater lands for private, commercial shellfish aquaculture in Peconic Bay and Gardiners Bay, expanding the marine-based economy and increasing private investment in shellfish aquaculture businesses. In addition to the economic benefits of SCALP, the widespread production of oysters, hard clams and bay scallops in dense populations supplement the spawning potential of native shellfish populations. The shellfish farms also help control nutrient cycling and contribute to the prevention of noxious algae blooms, such as brown tide, which improves water quality.
The proposed revisions and updates to the program were adopted at the March 2, 2021 General Meeting of the Legislature. Revisions of note include an update of the Shellfish Cultivation Zone, clarification of definitions to match State law, establishing $100 aquaculture lease application fee as non-refundable and a new fee schedule. Subletting and subleasing would not be permitted. Issuance and renewal of leases for cultivation would be at the County’s sole discretion.
Also of note, the The Aquaculture Lease Board will include one representative from each of the Towns of East Hampton, Town of Riverhead, Town of Shelter Island, Town of Southampton, and Town of Southold, to be designated by the County Executive. These representatives will be selected from the shellfishing industry, a recreational boating organization, the commercial harvester/baymen, and a marine organization that works in the Peconic Estuary. The Lease Board would also take recreational or navigational hazards into account while making any determinations.
“I am proud to support these changes which will continuing to revive this historic industry-- creating jobs and opportunities for fresh foods to make it onto our tables, and add to efforts to improve water quality while balancing the concerns of other historic users of the bays,” stated Legislator Fleming.
Bill to Strengthen County’s School Bus Photo Violation Monitoring Program
Legislator Fleming Co-Sponsored a bill, which passed during the March 2 General Meeting, to clarify the law that created the County-wide School Bus Photo Violation Monitoring Program. Under the new bill, 20% of all funds received will be used for a County-wide program to educate drivers on the State laws associated with stopping for school buses and to provide funding for traffic safety enforcement, with a minimum of $100,000 allocated towards education-- including outreach through television, radio, newspaper and social media outlets. 50% of all funds received will be provided to the municipality where the ticket is adjudicated for traffic-safety enforcement, with a preference for enforcement that enhances pedestrian safety located within school districts participating in the program. A minimum of 20% of all funding allocated will be utilized for costs associated with crossing guards, traffic control officers and other public safety positions. The law takes effect on January 1st of 2022, when municipalities will begin to collect the information they need to submit their first reports to the County Comptroller, members of the Legislature, and Clerk of the Legislature due March 15 of 2023.
Daniel Flynn Appointed as Southampton Town Representative to Suffolk County Planning Commission
Quogue resident Daniel Flynn has been approved to represent the Town of Southampton, on the Suffolk County Planning Commission. Southampton has not had representation on the Planning Commission since December of 2016. Mr. Flynn will serve the remainder of the term vacated by the last representative, which is set to expire on December 31 of 2021. “Daniel’s extensive experience relevant to the work of the Planning Commission paired with his dedication to our community will undoubtedly make him a wonderful addition to the Commission as they deliberate and advise on region-wide impacts of proposed development projects,” said Legislator Fleming.
Mark P. Haubner of Aquebogue Appointed to Council on Environmental Quality
Mark P. Haubner of Aquebogue has been appointed to the Council on Environmental Quality. Mr. Haubner. Mark will fill the vacancy left by Andrea Spilka, of Eastport, who recently passed away.
Westhampton Beach UFSD to purchase fuel from Suffolk County
The passing of this resolution allows Westhampton Beach Union Free School District to purchase fuel under the County’s Fuel Management/Preventative Maintenance Inventory Control System. Westhampton Beach USFD will reimburse the County for the cost of fuel plus a fifteen (15%) administrative fee, under the County’s Suffolk Share Program.
Successful Accabonac Harbor Pesticide Reduction Program to Continue
In 2017, Legislator Fleming facilitated the creation of the Accabonac Harbor Mosquito Sampling Cooperative Project. The team, made up of the Suffolk County Vector Control, East Hampton Town Trustees, The Town of East Hampton Department of Environmental Protection, the Nature Conservancy, and volunteer citizen scientists, initiated a 5-week pilot project to reduce pesticide applications based on specific mosquito larvae and pupae data gathered by the volunteers on the Accabonac marsh. The data was used to identify zones where pesticide treatment would be necessary, or unnecessary. Since the program’s implementation, observers have reported increases in native vegetation, dragonflies and divers bird species. A pair of bald eagles had even established a nest on the marsh. During the program’s 2018 expansion, pesticide treatment was only required on 7 of the 11 weeks studied, which resulted in cost savings to the County of $18,000.
To ensure the continuation of the successful joint vector control project, the Suffolk County Legislature voted to adopt a resolution to enter an intermunicipal agreement with the Town of East Hampton’s Department of Environmental Protection. Vector Control indicates that since the first full year of the program in 2018, there was a resultant decrease in County pesticide use and helicopter hours. The Division of Budget Review estimates a consequent average cost avoidance of approximately $20,000 annually.
“We’ve been at this for four years—the program reduces helicopter rides, reduces intervention with toxic substances, and allows the wetlands to function as they were designed, enabling predators to keep the mosquito population down. The public-private partnership is a shining example of a cooperative and thoughtful approach to governmental policy. I’m gratified by the commitment of all involved,” stated Legislator Fleming.
Campaign Finance Board Administrative Fund Created
Legislator Fleming Co-Sponsored a bill to create the new “Campaign Finance Board Administrative Fund” which will receive $185,400 transferred from the Suffolk County Fair Elections Matching Fund to fill two positions within the Campaign Finance Board, an Executive Director of the Campaign Finance Board and a Secretary. Funding will also be used for office machines, furniture and supplies.
Proclamation Presented to Sgt. Marcus Santana for Off-Duty Rescue
Legislators Bridget Fleming and Al Krupski were proud to present Marine Sgt. Marcus Santana with a Proclamation to express admiration and gratitude for his heroic off-duty life-saving actions in November of 2020. On his November 9 commute, Sgt. Santana, a recruiter in the office of the US Marines on Main Street in Riverhead, witnessed an elderly woman collapse in the middle of a crosswalk in her attempt to pass through the Riverside traffic circle. His training in emergency response gave Sgt. Santana the tools to respond with swift and careful action—he put his truck in park, felt for a pulse, and directed a bystander to call 911. He then began to perform CPR and after a few minutes, the woman became responsive. Sgt. Santana ensured that the woman stayed in place until equipped emergency responders could make it to the scene. He later learned the identity of the woman and was relieved to learn that she made a full recovery.
Sgt. Santana is a graduate of Riverhead High School, Class of 2012. He currently lives in Flanders and is the proud father of a 6-year-old boy.