Cuomo Signs F.A.A. Referendum Law

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed legislation that will require any future long-term financial agreements between the East Hampton Town Board and the Federal Aviation Administration to be subject to a permissive referendum, giving the community a voice in whether to accept federal money and regulations as it relates to East Hampton Airport.

Federal aviation grants can last up to 20 years, resulting in a long-term impact on the community when they are accepted. The law addresses this by entrusting authority to both the town board and residents. It allows the town board to hold a permissive referendum when considering state or federal assistance for the town-owned airport. It also gives residents the right to petition the town for a referendum, should the board accept a grant and withhold putting it out to a public vote. The petition must be signed by at least 5 percent of residents who voted in the last gubernatorial election and submitted within 30 days of the board having adopted the measure.

"I am pleased the governor signed this measure, which puts the decision-making power regarding F.A.A. funds back into the hands of the community," Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. said in a statement. "Town board members have terms that last only four years. Therefore, it's important that voters also have a say on these agreements that will impact them for years to come."

State Senator Kenneth P. LaValle also supports East Hampton's efforts. The new law, he said in a statement, "enables the residents to decide by referendum whether to accept financial assistance from other levels of government. The new decision-making ability would enable the community of East Hampton to chart their own course."

The law takes effect immediately.