Around Southampton Town Hall: Betts Resigns; Bonds Borrowed, Repealed

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The Southampton Town Board this week approved some $2.3 million in bonding for a variety of projects slated for 2014 as part of the town’s annual capital improvements budget.

Included in the bonding is $800,000 for road repairs, the single-largest expenditure; $200,000 for integrated dispatching software and equipment for the Town Police Department; $175,000 for a new bay constables boat; and $100,000 for repairing sidewalks throughout the town.

The Highway Department will also get $320,000 for purchasing new equipment, primarily replacements for aging and obsolete vehicles, and the reconstruction of the Highway Department building in Hampton Bays.

At the same time, the Town Board also repealed $2.2 million in older bonds, some dating back several years, that had never been borrowed, a step recommended to the town by the credit rating agency Moody’s.

Town Comptroller Len Marchese said that the rating agency had said it was not good practice by the town to carry approved borrowing that has never, and will never, be borrowed for the projects it was earmarked for.

Mr. Marchese said that all of the projects for which bonds were repealed this week—ranging from $500,000 for road drainage work in East Quogue to $250,000 for work on North Sea Community Park to $100,000 for the purchase of pump-out boats—have already been done, or are under way, using other funding sources as part of a Town Board effort in recent years to trim borrowing.

“Our borrowing authorizations have gone down dramatically,” Mr. Marchese said. “We’ve established a pay-as-you-go funding on a lot of our accounts so now we really only borrow for very major acquisitions and improvements.”

Betts Resigns

The Town Board this week accepted the resignation of David Betts, the town’s chief investigator and head of its code enforcement division.

Mr. Betts was first hired by the town in 2007 as part of its creation of a new investigations unit as an adjunct to the town attorney’s office. Mr. Betts, a former Southampton Village Police officer, was made the chief investigator in 2010.

Mr. Betts ran unsuccessfully for town highway superintendent on the Republican line last fall, losing to Superintendent Alex Gregor.

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