Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Email From A Resident

Dear Editor,

Attending the Mastic Beach Exploratory Committee's meeting on behalf of my mother, who was in attendance also, bought very discouraging views to light, many which were never answered by their village attorney.

First were questions taken by the gentleman in charge of the census. After repeated questions by many individuals as to how a census can be accurately taken if individuals that answer their door refuse to give this information, the answer was "we have ways of obtaining the information" Many were not pleased at this response, and no illumination was proffered as to how or what their alternative methods would be. This sounded more like "If you don't participate voluntarily, we'll find a way to make you."

The most blatant mis-information came directly from the attorney, who had a projected operating budget of $549,000.00, subsidized by a lateral shift of taxes from the Town of Brookhaven of approximately $650,000.00. The numbers were so skewed ( i.e. - $10,000.00 for a village engineer, $75,000.00 for 3 part time code enforcement officials, $30,000.00 for rental and maintenance of village hall, $20,000.00 for computers and software) that only one word comes to mind - implausible. Taking into consideration the extremely considerate numbers supplied by this attorney, one has to ask themselves how a village with a PROJECTED surplus in the neighborhood of $100,000.00 takes into account potential shortfalls in tax revenue coupled with a virtual certainty in budget overruns. I say this due to the fact that revenue being collected is also based on mortgage revenue being collected by the Town, and with over 1400 homes in foreclosure at the present time in this area, this number is guaranteed to rise due to the ongoing mortgage crisis. This equates into less operating capital, and I addressed this question in an open forum Q & A - the response was "it then becomes the Towns problem". Hmmm? I was not the only person to ask this question, and receive no response. I would have respected an honest answer, like the obvious "it then falls on the village taxpayers". In these economic times, a car salesman will tell you a Hummer gets 20 MPG just to get the sale. ( I also failed to mention the attorney set aside $25,000.00 in this budget, then operating at 50% of standard attorney fees. What is the amount? If you normally charge $200.00 per hour, you get $100.00? I've yet to see a fixed rate fee an attorney can charge, therefore this number is ambiguous.)

I was disheartened to hear Paul Brechard, president of Pattersquash Creek, state also on microphone, that "he hopes all people who own 3, 4, and five homes in this area make a million bucks"on their investment. These rentals are the driving force that imports the social ills this community now faces. What ALL the proponents of this measure also fail to state is that there is not one example of a community attempting to do an incorporation that only wants control of zoning laws, NOT ONE!

After speaking with the town tax assessor, he also concurred that an absentee landlord tax can NOT be implemented on a village level. My question is "Why are you attempting to do something that will not give the residents the power or authority to limit the DSS, sober housing, and sex offender issues that plague this area?"The sad truth - no response from the proponents of this village.

Anthony Torres