Phillip Beltz has probably been involved with every Southold Town program that’s been available over the past dozen years.
He’s worked to bring affordable housing to the town, helped re-establish the town’s youth bureau and took the lead on a variety of tasks — from workplace violence training to organizing services to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Now, he’s moving on.
Mr. Beltz, who has worked as the town’s special projects coordinator for the last 12 years, has announced his intent to retire this fall.
“It’s been a great experience and I’m sure [the town] is going to have an opportunity to find different people to take it in different directions,” he said in an interview Tuesday morning with The Suffolk Times.
He said he made plans about two months ago to move to Boston.
“This is a provident time so I just decided to go for it,” Mr. Beltz said. “I like having the stimulation of cities.”
Mr. Beltz began working full-time for the town in January 2004, having spent a decade in Philadelphia running a nonprofit organization to help the homeless and working part-time as a social worker for the elderly.
He said one of his first victories was helping to create affordable housing at The Cottages in Mattituck.
“That was an enormous opportunity to be a leveling playing field for allowing people to stay in town,” he said, adding he’s also enjoyed helping to spur job opportunities in town and to keep young adults from leaving the area.
He also appreciates the time he’s spent working in Southold Town and said the small-town feel made it easy to see the difference he could make in people’s lives.
It’s a difference others can easily see, including Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell.
“I’m happy for him and I understand this decision, but it’s going to be a huge loss for Southold Town,” Mr. Russell said.
The supervisor said it was impossible to overestimate “what his deep commitment [means] to this community” and praised Mr. Beltz’s ability to take on various projects with the same vigor.
Everyone of them he treated as equally important, Mr. Russell said.
“He’s been my right hand the whole time,” he said. “If I’m any good as supervisor, it’s a result of my staff — he being a key part of the staff.”
Mr. Russell said the town will try to fill Mr. Beltz’s role with other staff members and may later look into hiring a replacement.
“We’ll do the best we can to fill those shoes,” he said, “but I don’t think that’s possible.”