Bridgehampton Unhappy with Power Line Proposals

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Members of the Bridgehampton Citizens Advisory Committee on Monday expressed doubts that a project to bury the Long Island Power Authority transmission line between Southampton Village and Bridgehampton will ever come to fruition, and also said they are having second thoughts about whether local customers should fund the project.?A resolution drafted by CAC member Steve Steinberg was presented at Monday’s meeting that would notify the Town Board of the civic group’s opposition to both the creation of a special taxing district and a proposal for Bridgehampton residents to pay a surcharge on LIPA bills to cover the $8 million cost of placing the remaining 3.75 miles of transmission lines underground. However, after heated discussion, members of the CAC said they were more concerned about whether the project would be approved at all.?Members of the CAC also examined proposals from Southampton Town Supervisor Linda Kabot to offer some form of financial assistance to LIPA in the event that customers refuse to pay the surcharge. LIPA has requested that the town provide this assistance and indemnify LIPA against lawsuits before it approves the plan to bury the line, but so far the town has not made an offer that the utility will agree to.?With work set to begin on the project by the end of the week, time is running out.?Ms. Kabot’s proposal to allow ratepayers to opt in to a fund to cover the cost of delinquencies was roundly rejected by CAC members, who were also concerned about the potential of a new taxing district.?Steve Abramson, chairman of the Water Mill Citizens Advisory Committee and a proponent of burying the lines, presented Ms. Kabot’s proposals to the group. “I don’t think that’s a viable proposition,” said Mr. Abramson of the opt-in fund. “These are fallback positions, because they’re grasping at straws.”?The CAC decided not to send Mr. Steinberg’s resolution to the town, after Mr. Abramson argued that the cost of the project benefits more residents throughout the town than just the Water Mill property owners who live along the proposed route.?Members of the group also questioned why East Hampton residents are not being asked to share the cost of the project. Mr. Abramson said that the transmission line will likely be extended to East Hampton at some point, and that at that time those residents will have to deal with their end of the project. “It’s going to average out,” he said.?”Nobody has their act together,” said Bridgehampton CAC Chairman Fred Cammann. “We’re all delighted to pay the surcharge, because we’re all great people, but we have an incompetent position from the town and an unbending position from LIPA.”?

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