Notes from Wainscott

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Plenty of barking and meowing will resonate from the woods off Wainscott’s Daniels Hole Road on Saturday morning, May 17, when the furry and fuzzy ones—and their owners—gather for ARF’s annual Pet Celebration Day (formerly called Alumni Day). From 10 a.m. until noon at the Adoption Center, the ARF staff will provide two hours of 
activities for dogs and cats, ARF adopters, and for supporters and friends of the Animal Rescue Fund of the Hamptons.

Among the events for dogs will be an agility course and an obedience 
contest. I’m not counting on my two rather undisciplined pups, Oliver, a blond cocker spaniel, and K-2, a 
like-colored Lhasa apso, winning any prizes, but they can mingle with friends from Wainscott Beach walks and 
occasionally growl at perceived feline and canine enemies. Both Oliver and K-2 are former ARF residents!

A veterinarian will, for free, microchip cats and dogs, a very good form of identification should your pet become lost. Throughout the morning, Sandy Rapp will strum her guitar and sing favorite animal classics. Oliver, surely one of the finest yodelers in the animal kingdom, might well achieve some acclaim if he chooses to join Sandy in a tune or two.

Works of art by children from local schools will be on display in the Charles Addams Gallery, and winners of the “Be Kind to Animals” poster contest will be announced. Dreesen’s famous donuts will be served to two-legged participants, and plenty of treats for the four-footed will take the edge off their midday feeding appetites.

For your pet’s memory book and for publication in the ARF summer newsletter, a group photograph of all former “ARFans” and their guardians will be snapped. Pet Celebration Day is free, but donations will be accepted for this worthy organization.

For more information, call ARF at 631-537-0400. Oh, not to let the cat out of the bag, but ARF’s 34-year-old logo has been redesigned; the new, updated version will be unveiled on Saturday.

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Tuesday, May 20, is the date for the vote on the 2008-2009 Wainscott School budget. Paper ballot voting will be at the Wainscott Chapel that evening from 5 to 8 p.m. All qualified voters of the Wainscott Common School District are eligible. The ballot contains two propositions. The first is a vote on the proposed budget itself and for authorization to levy the necessary tax increase; the second is for the election of a school trustee to a three-year term. Iris Osborn is on the ballot, and voters also have the option of entering a write-in candidate.

Wainscott property owners and registered voters have received the proposed budget by mail. Unanimously adopted last month by the Wainscott School Board, it proposes a spending plan of $3.09 million, a 16.2-percent increase over the current 2007-2008 budget. If approved by voters on Tuesday, the budget will carry an expected 3.5-percent increase in the property tax rate, which is the lowest of all school districts in East Hampton. (Those districts are, in addition to Wainscott, Amagansett, Montauk, Springs, and East Hampton itself. As a “sending” district to East Hampton, Sagaponack also is included.)

Wainscott’s tuition costs for sending its students to classes in the East Hampton School District is, at $1,631,297, the largest single budget expenditure—53 percent of the total. Wainscott students from the fourth grade and beyond attend schools in East Hampton’s school district. Instruction comes in at 14 percent of the budget. Transportation, a sending ingredient, occupies third place in costs, or 12 percent of the total.

Several factors, as pointed out by Wainscott School District Superintendent Dominic Annacone, surrounding the budget are of interest. The new school, which opened in January, came in at $300,000 under bid, an unusual circumstance in these times of construction. Of course, the new building requires additional dollar upkeep and insurance. More than $100,000 was saved on the new school’s construction by eliminating the services of a clerk of the works. In place of that position, attorney David Eagan, Wainscott resident and school trustee, donated his time and legal expertise. Our district receives no New York State aid because Wainscott is considered by the state to be of high property wealth value.

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At its May meeting, the Wainscott Citizens Advisory Committee agreed to send to the East Hampton Town Board letters in support of a town purchase of the Strong property and in opposition of the proposed relocation of the Suffolk Cement plant in the Wainscott pit.

The Strong land occupies 11.5 acres between Town Line and Wainscott Hollow roads. Owned by the Strong family, the parcel was subdivided in the early 1980s into contiguous lots. An agricultural easement protects the largest, 6.8-acre lot of prime agricultural soils, and another agricultural easement covers a portion of the 2.7-acre segment. A two-acre lot borders only Wainscott Hollow. The cement plant issue has been mentioned in this column previously and was the subject of a news feature in this publication last week.

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