Letters to the Editor

12/15/2010 3:34 PM |

What’s the problem?
Until 2003, when I purchased a home on the North Fork, I had never encountered the process of waste disposal as it exists here. I had also never encountered something called the Peconic land transfer tax, but that’s a subject for another day.
In all my previous towns and states of residence, garbage and recyclables were picked up at the curb by a city-owned garbage truck, usually twice a week, and taken away. I didn’t really know where it went from there and I assume the cost of carting it away was paid by our property tax.
Upon moving to the North Fork, I was quickly made aware of the yellow bag system that has come under debate recently. Initially I thought it was strange, but I understood the reasons for it as described by Jim Bunchuck in his recent letter, ”Too good to be true” (Dec. 9).
I quickly realized its downside the first time I loaded my car with recyclables and the flimsy yellow bags full of the remains of the previous day’s lobster and clam dinner.
The lobster and clam juice that had been fermenting in the summer sun, along with the remaining beer, wine and other liquids from the recyclables, were then soaking into the carpet and upholstery of what had been a fairly nice vehicle.
I quickly researched options for garbage pickup and found that I would still have to buy yellow bags and also pay someone to bring it to the town waste facility once a week, totaling about $700 per year. Eventually I bought an old pickup truck specifically for the dump runs.
After a few years, the truck broke down and I couldn’t afford a new one so I was back to triple bagging the garbage, putting it into yet another plastic town yellow bag, and bringing it to the dump in our family vehicle. Then a few weeks ago I saw the ad for Go Green garbage service and I thought “Wow, no yellow bags and no more turning my $25,000 car into a garbage truck each week? Sounds great!”
I called the number on the ad and inquired. I was told that the garbage and recyclables could be put into a 96-gallon container that they provide and it would be taken to a garbage sorting facility where the contents are put on a conveyor belt to be sorted for recycling. Being a proponent of green initiatives, I wanted to make sure that recycling would be done. They assured me it was and I signed up. Then the heated debate began, about which I have several questions.
If a service were against the law, why would it be allowed to advertise in the paper?
How is adding a town plastic bag to a bunch of other plastic bags good for the environment?
Why wouldn’t a town-owned garbage removal system (paid for with a small property tax increase) be better for the environment and create jobs?
Why are restaurants and other businesses with large dumpsters not required to use yellow bags?
How much is spent each year on producing and printing the town seal on the yellow bags?
How much sales tax is paid to the state on the sale of the yellow bags?
And last, why do I now feel guilty, as though I have broken the law by patronizing a business advertised in this well-respected publication?
Dan Reyburn

Follow the 3 Rs
Reduce, reuse, recycle – the three Rs.  
It’s not difficult, doesn’t take a lot of effort, saves money and, best of all, saves valuable resources for future generations. Buy only what you need, reuse or give away what you no longer need and recycle most of the rest.  
Southold Town has an efficient recycling center and a fair method for supporting waste disposal by requiring residents to purchase yellow bags. When folks follow the three Rs they need fewer yellow bags, it’s that easy.  
Going green does not mean getting a bigger trash can so that it’s easier to create and dispose of more garbage.
As an aside, while you are planning your New Year resolutions, why not purchase some reusable shopping bags and vow to use them in the new year? Put a note on your dashboard and you will remember to bring them into the store.
Ellen Paterno

Yes, it is legal
Unfortunately, Jim Bunchuck, Southold Town Solid Waste Coordinator, does not correctly read the town code regarding the collection of residential garbage (“Too Good to be True,” Dec. 9).
The regulations Mr. Bunchuck quotes only apply to waste brought to the Southold transfer station — our dump. In fact the exact wording is “any transfer station maintained by a waste district in the Town of Southold.”
Since the Go Green carting firm transports the refuse to a facility outside of Southold, the town’s requirements of yellow bags, sorting, etc., do not apply.
Therefore, this new carting service is both legal and quite good to be true.
Michael Edelson

It’s a good deal
Just a note regarding the Go Green sanitation company.
I signed with them to have our refuse picked up. I am very satisfied with their service and their price.
Also, no more yellow bags to buy and there will be no more dump permit to buy. And no more separating paper, glass, cans, plastic and cardboard, plus no more weekly trips to the recycling center.
Robert Hamill

We’ll remember this
1,260 names on petition against 7-Eleven — ignored.
Traffic concerns of neighbors — ignored.
Concerns of small business — ignored.
Concerns of Unity Baptist Church — ignored.
Concerns of those who attended numerous Town Hall meetings against 7-Eleven — ignored.
This Republican elevation of the property rights of one above community concerns will not be ignored in the next local election.
Art Tillman
chairman, Southold Democratic Committee

School board says thanks
Greenport’s Board of Education would like to thank the hundreds of community members who came out to vote and overwhelmingly supported our bond propositions.
Your investment in our school district’s bright future will pay dividends for many years to come.
We would also like to thank our superintendent, Michael Comanda, for his tireless leadership, compelling communications and personal passion for this capital improvement project. We are confident these same qualities will see the project through to successful completion.
Additional thanks go out to our district clerk and business officer, Diana Duell, who always goes the extra mile to make sure the numbers and processes are exactly right.
Before long, you will see our wind turbine on Greenport’s “skyline” and attend events in our beautifully restored auditorium.
Tina Volinski, president
Lisa Murray, vice president
Dan Creedon, Mike Mazzafero, Heather Wolf

Let taxes fall
Even though I usually don’t approve of borrowing, I’m glad Greenport will now be able to fix up their school.
However, I’m still waiting for the day that I see the Town of Southold (or any town for that matter) announce that a bond is now paid off and taxes will be reduced. Is that possible?
Now that the library bond was rejected, can we now go back to the way the library used to be arranged? It never looked crowded when the computers were upstairs.
On another matter, returning from a trip to Hawaii I noticed that all their beaches are open to the public. Florida also has great access to beaches and they are placed in convenient areas with public parking. We could use more access here on the North Fork, especially East of Greenport on the Sound. There’s no way a senior can access St. Thomas Point on the Sound in East Marion and other good fishing spots.
Bob Cavagna

A dissenting voice
Congratulations to the 500-plus voters whose efforts enabled Rep. Bishop to eke out a win over another favorite candidate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
At least the citizens of the First Congressional District will have a dissenting voice from the newly arrived majority who seem to hold that “We the People” refers primarily to a loose affiliation of millionaires and billionaires and who have raised the theory of unrestrained free markets to the level of divinely revealed truth.
Perhaps since Rep. Bishop attended a Jesuit college he can easily distinguish “class warfare” from basic “social Justice”?
Devotees of Ayn Rand morality are well represented in the new House of Representatives. I hazard the guess we will hear numerous homilies regarding “self-reliance” directed towards the middle class and the poor, and government protection and public subsidy for the wealthy.
As Bette Davis advised in one of her films, fasten your seat belts. It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Tom Dunn

Not a supporter
I‘d like to congratulate Tim Bishop on his re-election win, because now I know that I will be able to keep my contaminated well, have less fire protection and be satisfied with lower property values.
Nice going, Tim.
Bill Gibbons

Backward priorities
The most recent turns of the political activity in Washington are mind-bending.
The recently minted anti-deficit Republicans have now forced a total extension of the Bush tax cuts in return for wearing a mask of humanity and renewing unemployment benefits for 13 months. This returns a tremendous amount of money to the 2 to 3 percent of the wealthiest citizens, while giving less costly aid to our most damaged citizens.
The wealthy, already having all the resources they need for daily life, will pour most of the proceeds into the Wall Street casino or hide it away in the Cayman Islands. Hence we will see no kick to the economy, only a more crippling deficit. The unemployment benefit money will get spent and will help the economy, while contributing in a much smaller way to the deficit.
These same Republicans are blocking a renewal of the START Treaty, the nuclear missile reduction agreement with the Soviets. These deficit hawks won’t support START without assurance that Congress will build added dollars into the defense budget for ever more complex weapons.
Since our defense budget is larger than the accumulated defense budgets of the rest of the world, this added expense is patently ridiculous, not to mention unaffordable. This roadblock, coming in the face of approval of the treaty by Defense Secretary Gates, the State Department and the president, is another illogical act by the self-proclaimed deficit hawks.
The deficit is real and it needs serious attention. But unfortunately, as we engage in this kind of political gamesmanship, as we assume that taking over government is the real goal and the health of the country a minor issue, we will descend ever more rapidly into chaos.  
Howard Meinke

Explain that
I have but only one question:
If the housing market is going down on this great North Fork, then why are our property taxes going up?  
My house value has dropped over $200,000. Is there an answer for this?
Denise King

A big thumbs-up
Stop the presses!
It’s all local talent. It’s seasonal. Yes, the Peconic Bay Masterworks Choir concert is just plain wonderful.
Joel Reitman

Ugly asphalt
Well, the SCWA blew through East Marion and left in its wake an ugly patchwork of asphalt sidewalks and driveway entrances.  What an eyesore.  
This used to be a scenic country road. Now I cringe whenever I drive by.  
Is there anything that can be done about this? Who can we talk to? If I lived along that stretch of road, I would certainly be raising a ruckus about it.
Anyone game?
Janet Hands

You forgot the EMFD
The Suffolk Times was correct in reporting that there was a crash on the East Marion causeway on Sunday, Dec. 5.  
The Suffolk Times was also correct in reporting that the Orient and Greenport Fire Departments transported injured patients, but neglected to report that the East Marion Fire Department also responded to the motor vehicle accident.  
It makes sense that the EMFD responded to this call because the accident was in East Marion Fire Department’s jurisdiction.  
The chiefs of the EMFD would like to thank both the Greenport and Orient Fire Departments for their assistance that day and The Suffolk Times for printing this correction.

Gregory Wallace

EMFD public information officer

Editor’s note: We’d also like to thank the volunteers for their efforts and apologize to the EMFD for the oversight.

A very kind stranger
I was driving home from my job in Greenport recently and hit a deer. I was devastated as I’ve never hit anything, much less an animal.
Thank goodness for the gentlemen who pulled his tractor off to the side of the road and helped me pull the poor thing out of the middle of the road and make sure I was okay.
It’s encouraging to know that there are still honestly compassionate people around. He helped make this horrifying experience a lot less horrifying.
Thank you, kind stranger.
Chris Lewis

Always there for us
We want to thank Cutchogue fire and rescue and Southold police for their quick response to the scene of our accident Friday night.
The overwhelming care and concern for our safety displayed by everyone there is so gratefully appreciated.
Thank you all for always being here for our community.
Susan and Sarah Caggiano

Not a one-man band
Julie Lane’s article in the Nov. 25 Suffolk Times made my attempt to renew the Initiative for Community Land Trust in Southold seem like a one-man band.
On the contrary, there is a growing marching band behind me and from it will come a nonprofit, tax-free CLT. We have an excellent source of direction from the national network of over 145 successful, low-income and work-force housing efforts across the country and five others here on Long Island.
Senior citizens need home health care aides, our hospital needs available personnel, returning servicemen need housing, and young people need to be able to afford to stay to provide for our local services.
This has been an ongoing concern, and it is becoming ever more crucial to provide affordable housing for the very people we need and want in our community.
Now is the time to join the effort to meet the need for affordable housing. The Initiative for Community Land Trust provides the way it can be accomplished. It takes a  small group of committed and concerned people working together to develop the program we need.
If you want to be part of the Initiative for Community Land Trust in Southold, call me at 477-3050.
Eileen McFetridge



8 Comment

  • Go Green appears to be a competitor in the trash business in Southold Town, I too received a mailing from the company looking for my business. Since there was no name on the card I called the number and spoke with Frank Fischer of Riverhead his business does make it easier for most people with one container and the cost of yellow bags don’t go down. The real problem as was told to me by Mr. Fischer is that he received a phone call from a Southold Town Official and it appears their concern was not recycling but that Go Green would be interfering with the Town’s revenue stream. So as we all sit in hard times it appears to be about money on both sides.

  • Go Green appears to be a competitor in the trash business in Southold Town, I too received a mailing from the company looking for my business. Since there was no name on the card I called the number and spoke with Frank Fischer of Riverhead his business does make it easier for most people with one container and the cost of yellow bags don’t go down. The real problem as was told to me by Mr. Fischer is that he received a phone call from a Southold Town Official and it appears their concern was not recycling but that Go Green would be interfering with the Town’s revenue stream. So as we all sit in hard times it appears to be about money on both sides.

  • This is in response to both Art Tillman and Denise King who wrote letters above.

    Denise, your property taxes are going up because there are more and more children attending our local schools. In Nassau County tax bills are divided into the categories “general” and “school” but in Suffolk, since we do not do that, it is not known to property owners the portion of their taxes that is for the school. The number of individuals and companies paying property taxes for their homes and commercial properties is not increasing at the same rate as the number of children. One might ask how this happens. I can tell you that on my street there is one house in particular that has a half dozen vehicles parked out front and in the driveway (oddly none of these vehicles have NY State plates) and I count 14 children coming out of that house for the school bus. I will hazard a guess that the house is being rented to those almost two dozen people. I will also assume that the amount of property tax the landlord is paying does not cover all of these children. As a staunch libertarian, and this part is for Mr. Tillman, I know it is not my place to tell the property owner how many people he can pack into that single family dwelling. As long as they are not parking in my driveway, it’s not my business.

  • I don’t know, Dan, I used to live in Northport and we paid for private carting. As for the Transfer Tax, it sure is nice to buy property on forever farmland, isn’t it? People pay a premium for those properties.

  • Denise, the answer is that even though your property’s value has gone down, the money needed to run the schools and towns has not. Therefore, your taxes go up.

  • Hi. In addition to schools and Town, there are fire districts, library districts, etc that constitute a tax bill. Those annual budgets get collected through taxes. The the assessment of your home is the the base of what you pay in relation to others, not in relation to the market value each year.

  • I’m a Mount Sinai resident and would LOVE the Village Center to come to fruition! What a beautiful addition to our town and a great way for businesses to help fund our school district.

  • If Paul Elliot cared about the community, he would be honest about what is really being built in this “walkable”, “green” development….at 16 pump GAS STATION. The community clearly said NO to COSTCO which included a gas station. I guess promoting a gas station and 2 smaller box stores on Sound View’s website, when there is already an abandoned Mobil station on the corner, is not a wise marketing decision so I understand why he chooses to misrepresent the project and lie to the community.

    If Paul Elliot cared about the community, he would respect the residents who live in the area surrounding the new mega shopping center…those whose yards will now become parking lots, and whose bus stops will become traffic cut-throughs. He cares about one thing $$$$$$$$$$$. Someday when he’s gone, young residents like myself will carry the burden of empty and ever-changing retail stores, dumpsters, delivery trucks, shopping carts, pollution, traffic congestion and oh, a beautiful clock tower!!