Voters Approve County, Town Propositions

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Voters in Suffolk County and Southampton Town approved all of Tuesday night’s ballot propositions, mostly by broad margins, including a land swap between the county and town in Riverside, eliminating the county treasurer’s office, and ordering the county to repay any funds it borrows from a water quality protection fund within 10 years.

In the lone proposition directed solely at Southampton Town residents, voters gave the town permission to give a small parcel of land it purchased in Riverside using Community Preservation Fund money to the county. In return, the county will give the town a portion of adjacent riverfront parkland that it owns, which is needed for the Riverside traffic circle to be expanded and redesigned. The measure passed with 74 percent of voters’ approval.

The two county propositions also passed by comfortable margins. Voters approved the elimination of the county Department of Taxation and Finance and the positions of county treasurer, chief deputy treasurer and deputy treasurer. The duties of the treasurer’s office will be folded into the county comptroller’s office starting in 2018. About 57 percent of voters voted in favor of the change.

A second countywide proposition gave county lawmakers two more years from which to borrow from a county water quality protection fund to offset other county spending, on the condition that the money be gradually returned to the water quality fund over the ensuing 10 years. Environmental advocates had touted the measure as crucial and trumpeted the 2-to-1 support it earned as a major victory for water quality protection.

“This is an amazing outcome that should lift the spirits of every water quality advocate,” Robert DeLuca, president of the Group for the East End, said in a message to supporters on Wednesday morning. “A win of this size demonstrates that protecting and restoring our troubled waters is not only an issue that is understood and supported by the vast majority of the public, but if there was any question whether clean water was a top tier political issue, last night’s results clearly put an end to that speculation.”

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