Blowin’ in the Wind No More

Durell Godfrey

Seeking to bring order to the piles of free magazines that clutter the doorways of shops in the commercial district, particularly during the summer months, the East Hampton Village Board passed a law last Thursday that limits the distribution of such printed matter.

The law requires that a storeowner or someone else of authority agree to accept the materials, that they are hand-delivered, and that they are secured in a way that prevents them from becoming litter or a public hazard. The law will take effect in about two weeks, after it is filed with New York’s secretary of state.  

Mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. began the work session by leading a moment of silence for Kathryn Frances McGuirk,  who died on Oct. 2 at her home on McGuirk Street. 

The first topic of discussion was a proposal to increase the village’s contribution to a pension-like incentive program for volunteer members of the ambulance association. The length-of-service awards program is a financial benefit provided to the volunteers once they reach retirement age. The village is looking to raise the benefit from $20 to $30 per month, which would match the incentive received by its fire department volunteers.

Tony Hill, a representative from Penflex, the company that manages the program for the village, provided the board with details on how to make the adjustment. The village’s current budget, he said, includes $95,000 earmarked for 

the program. Under the new amount, $145,000 would be needed to cover future outlays. 

The board will have to pass a resolution calling for a referendum on the change. If village residents approve, Penflex and the state will conduct an administrative review of the new benefit, which would take effect on the first day of the new year. 

“It’s definitely the right thing to do, given the time and all the effort and energy that’s put in by personnel from the ambulance association,” said Mayor Rickenbach, who proposed voting on the resolution at the next board meeting, which will take place on Oct. 19, and tentatively scheduling a referendum for Dec. 11. 

In a separate matter, Joseph Duda, a consulting actuary, apprised the board of the long-term liability costs for providing postretirement health insurance to its employees. Making a 15-year projection, Mr. Duda estimated that the overall cost would remain static at $18 million. Becky Molinaro Hansen, the village administrator, said Tuesday that the figure would have no impact on the village’s annual budget because insurance benefits for active and retired employees are fully funded through the general fund. There is currently a $2.9 million budget line for health insurance for active and retired employees in that fund, she said. 

In other business, the board appointed Kristin Corwin as a member of the design review board, and Walker Wainwright as a member of the planning board. 

A resolution was adopted to approve an agreement, covering 2019 to 2020, with the Town of East Hampton for fire protection and ambulance service for the East Hampton Water Supply District and the Northwest Fire District. 

Gerard Turza, the village’s fire chief, then rose to commend the members of the volunteer fire department and ambulance service, as well as other local first responders who helped battle the attic fire at the Creeks on Sept. 28. “The firefighters faced a myriad of challenges, extreme fire conditions, construction concerns, water supply logistics challenges, site access issues, and they all rose to the challenge as they always do,” said Chief Turza. “I’m happy to report, the most important thing is that no one was injured.”