The East Hampton Town Highway Department and the Town Trustees seem to be at odds over the issue of funding to repair a road south of the highway in Wainscott.
The Highway Department completed several repaving projects last week, in addition to repaving a section of the half-mile stretch of Beach Lane near Babinski Farm, which sustained some damage during the recent dredging of Georgica Pond, according to Town Highway Superintendent Stephen Lynch.
“Trucks removing the sand broke up the edges of the road,” Mr. Lynch said at a recent Wainscot Citizens Advisory Committee meeting. He then suggested that next time Georgica is dredged, money the East Hampton Town Trustees make from the sale of the dredged sand be put toward repairing some of the damaged roadway. The Trustees allow private contractors to bid on sand during dredging projects.
Trustee Diane McNally was disturbed by Mr. Lynch’s public statement, saying that the Trustees reached out to the Highway Department last year during the dredging project. She said that Mr. Lynch didn’t make note of the fact the contractor doing the dredging worked with the Highway Department to repair the road. “The implication that we didn’t really bothers me,” she fumed. “It sounds to me like Steve’s trying to make brownie points and he’s using us to do it. He should know better.” Ms. McNally added that she thinks it is unfair for the Trustees to have to foot the bill for a road that everyone uses, including summer visitors.
“Road wear is accumulative,” she said. “Everybody uses our roads. You can’t throw the road repair just on the Trustees and the one project from last year.”
Since 2008, the Trustees have dredged 12,000 cubic yards of sand from Georgica Pond, which frequently rises and floods residents’ basements. Ms. McNally said the Trustees would like to dredge Georgica Pond again next year, but their permit has expired and they are trying to have it renewed. The permits are issued by the East Hampton Town Natural Resources Department.
“It’s healthy for the pond and it gets us a resource to add sand to the beach,” Ms. McNally said of the dredging projects.
The Trustees are also attempting to get the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to allow more sand to be excavated each time the pond is dredged. “We’re asking for 15,000 cubic yards,” Ms. McNally said, adding that additional dredging would better prevent flooding from the pond because the hole created would be deeper.
Mr. Lynch said Friday that his proposal to the Trustees is still being negotiated. “It’s not a done deal, but it’s going to happen,” he said. “They destroyed the road the last time.”