Heaney upbeat on 2007 proposals

Newsday Staff Writer

January 30, 2007
 In a wide-ranging and generally upbeat State of the Town message, Southampton Supervisor Patrick Heaney promised that summer traffic would flow better this year and that open spaces are being protected, but he also cautioned that a 35 percent drop in building permits could mean a slowdown of new revenue into the town coffers.

“This decrease by 136 permits … makes a sobering suggestion that the construction industry continues to be propped up by high-end second homes,” said Heaney, referring to a drop in the last quarter of 2006. “Somewhere in the future, this market will saturate, and revenue from mortgage tax receipts will likely decline accordingly.”

Heaney focused mostly on the positives. He said the town begins 2007 with a surplus expected to top $16 million, and an operating fund balance of $2 million. That money – approved last year but not spent – will help to cut taxes in the 2008 budget, he said.

The supervisor said the temporary fourth lane on County Road 39 – created last year to add an extra eastbound morning traffic lane to ease the biggest traffic bottleneck in the Hamptons – would be opening again around April 1, and continue to be open until around Thanksgiving, depending on weather.

And he said the special 2 percent tax on real estate sales that is used for land preservation has so far raised $235.3 million in Southampton, bringing in more than $50 million last year alone.