Payloaders will ride onto the beach in the Village of West Hampton Dunes beginning this week to perform scheduled beach nourishment maintenance.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will begin pumping a total of 954,000 cubic yards of sand onto the beach during the week of September 18, according to Mayor Gary Vegliante, who provided an update to an estimated 50 residents at a monthly village meeting on Saturday afternoon.
In addition to the sand, the village beaches will also get three lines of sand fencing.
“Our community has a guaranteed beach for the next 50 to 60 years,” Mr. Vegliante said. “We want to ensure that at the end of this project, we’ll have enough in the bank to make it last forever.”
Saturday’s meeting was held at Pikes Beach, just before the village’s annual end-of-summer beach party.
Next week will mark the sixth time since the village’s creation two decades earlier that sand has been pumped onto the four-mile stretch of coastline that runs from the westernmost jetty to Moriches Inlet. A storm breach in the early 1990s had destroyed more than 100 homes, leading to the incorporation of West Hampton Dunes so that homeowners could sue the federal government to rebuild.
The latest nourishment project was supposed to start in March, but was held up because of logistical delays related to similar projects in Sagaponack Village and Hampton Bays.
“We went from the worst example of coastal management to the blueprint of a coastal community,” Mr. Vegliante said.
After the meeting, residents seemed confident in the mayor’s plan for the beaches and the village’s financial state—which was criticized in a recent audit conducted by the state comptroller’s office.
“I have full confidence in Gary and the board,” said Chuck Tabone, a full-time village resident.
Another resident, David Zolondek, agreed that beach nourishment was what had saved the village during Hurricane Sandy in 2012, adding that he believes such work will continue to protect the area in the future. “It keeps the beach going in perpetuity,” he said. “It’s a great thing.”
Mr. Vegliante also addressed the recent audit, which found multiple discrepancies and errors in the village’s financial reports between June 2011 and December 2012. The errors were said to range from simple math mistakes to more serious filing oversights, including submitting reports close to two years late.
Mr. Vegliante has disputed these findings since the report was published early last month, and offered the same explanation to those present on Saturday. “They came in and audited us after the three worst weather years in the history of Long Island,” he said. “Our reserves were not depleted on menial things, but on emergency funds.”
He also noted that at the end of this year, he expects a surplus from this year’s $1.59 million budget, which was 11 percent higher than last year’s and increased to make up for the audit’s reported deficit.
“We need to be able to help the community support itself when the federal government isn’t there,” he said, citing the village’s bill after Hurricane Sandy, which was not picked up by the federal government, “but we are limited in what we can invest the surplus in.”
Mr. Vegliante did note that some of the funds would be allocated to painting new stripes on village roads. He noted that he and the Village Board been seeking bids and hope to have the project completed next spring in time for the summer season.
Mr. Vegliante also reported that the board will approve a resolution to post the village code online. The date and time of that meeting has yet to be announced.