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10/18/16 2:00pm
10/18/2016 2:00 PM

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The Southold Town Highway Department’s latest roadwork has gone more than $70,000 over budget on materials and the town has yet to receive a promised $250,000 grant from the state for a separate road project, according to a discussion at Tuesday’s Town Board morning meeting.

“Paving’s not an exact science,” said Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando. READ

Featured Story
09/30/16 5:32pm
09/30/2016 5:32 PM

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Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell is calling for a 7.63 percent tax levy increase in his tentative 2017 budget, which was released Friday. The estimated tax increase marks the first time the supervisor has proposed piercing the state’s tax levy cap since the law went into effect in 2012. READ

03/15/14 8:00am
03/15/2014 8:00 AM
CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO |This 54-inch mooring buoy is for sale at the town Highway Department.

This 54-inch mooring buoy is for sale at the town Highway Department. (Credit: Cyndi Murray)

In the market for a 54-inch mooring buoy? The Southold Highway Department has one for sale.

The hollow, steel mooring buoy, which looks remarkably similar to a wrecking ball, is usually attached to the anchor of large ships or barges for use in deep water. (more…)

02/21/14 12:00pm
02/21/2014 12:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO |Southold highway department crews patch potholes on Main Street in Greenport Thursday afternoon.

The cold, snowy winter — followed in recent days by some warm weather — is turning Southold Town’s roadways into a “war zone” with potholes popping up left and right, according to Highway Superintendent Vincent Orlando. (more…)

12/20/13 12:00pm
12/20/2013 12:00 PM

CYNDI MURRAY FILE PHOTO | Councilman Chris Talbot was honored for his service as a town board member Tuesday.

Tuesday’s meeting was the last for Councilman Chris Talbot and Highway Superintendent Peter Harris. Both elected officials announced their retirement earlier this year and were recognized with a plaque for their service prior to the regular session.

“I have probably worked with Pete more than anyone in Town government the past 23 years I’ve been here and I have to say it’s been an honor,” Supervisor Scott Russell said. ”In all honesty Pete [your retirement] might be better for you and your family, but it is certainly not better for Southold.”

Mr. Harris, 60, remained the only elected Democrat in town government after former councilman Al Krupski was voted to the Suffolk County Legislature earlier this year, and he shocked his party in May by announcing he wouldn’t seek re-election.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Highway Superintendent Pete Harris was recognized for his decades of service to Southold Town Tuesday.

“I thought this would be easier, but I guess after this many years in the business it’s going to be hard to walk away, even though it’s my choice,” Mr. Harris said Tuesday. “It’s a 24/7 job … I had a great work ethic that was passed on to me from my parents and that I believe I passed on to both my two children. I am going to miss it. I truly love Southold.”

He served 12 years as head of the highway department. Previously, he worked 24 years as the state Department of Transportation’s highway maintenance supervisor responsible for Southold and Shelter Island towns. He started as a laborer, a job he held for three years.

Mr. Harris is being replaced in January by Republican Vincent Orlando, a former town councilman, who takes the oath of office in January.

Councilman Talbot was also honored by his fellow board members Tuesday. Mr. Talbot, a Republican, decided earlier this year not to seek re-election after serving one term on the board.

“Chris, I do want to tell you you’re a better man than me,” Mr. Russell said. “Chris did exactly what he said he was going to do; run for office, step in, make a difference and then leave. You rarely see in politics someone who sticks to his word. His approach to everything was with his uncompromising values — sometimes painful, but that is besides the point — he is a real man of integrity.”

A Southold native, Mr. Talbot championed small business, conservation and working toward a more efficient government.

“It is very, very rewarding to be able to serve your fellow residents,” Mr. Talbot said Tuesday. “I want to thank the town, Supervisor Scott Russell and the other board members for putting up with me.”

Fellow Republican and former Town Trustee Bob Ghosio will fill his seat in January.

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09/11/13 12:00pm
09/11/2013 12:00 PM
TIM KELLY PHOTO | Southold Highway Superintendent Pete Harris.

TIM KELLY FILE PHOTO | Southold Highway Superintendent Pete Harris.

Outgoing Highway Superintendent Pete Harris says some residents are abusing the town’s spring brush pickup program and he’s requesting that the town amend its policy.

During its regular work session Tuesday, Mr. Harris was joined by North Fork Environment Council member Bill Toedter in telling board members that an increasing number of people are capitalizing on the free program to clear entire parcels of land rather than just perform maintenance pruning.

“The fact is that homes have four, five, six, seven truckloads of brush stacked out in front [of one house],” Mr. Harris said. “That is taking advantage of what the program is supposed to be. If the town wants to continue the cleanup on a yearly basis we need to put some teeth into it.”

Mr. Harris suggested the town either set limits on how much brush one household can dispose of or simply discontinue the program all together.

In order to remove the excessive brush, Mr. Harris said, the town must pay tipping fees and employee overtime and, as a result, this year’s program is $16,000 over budget.

From an environmental standpoint, Mr. Toedter added, year-round residents are taking advantage of a time when seasonal residents are away to clear wetlands and bluff along the Sound. He argued that timing the program for the spring disturbs the ecosystem, specifically the mating of birds.

“The North Fork Environmental Council is concerned at this point because it’s getting out of hand,” he said. “We have hundreds of people clearing out land during nesting season.”

Supervisor Scott Russell acknowledged the problem, but said enforcing a strict limit on the number of truckloads of brush per household has proven difficult. In the past, some residents have piled their brush on vacant neighboring lots, making it impossible to issue a citation, he said.

Mr. Russell asked Mr. Harris to provide figures on the cost of the pickup program to use in working toward a solution but he discounted the notion of doing away with the program entirely.

“You mentioned clearing the bluffs but all of that is protected under town code,” he said. “Is it really just an enforcement issue? But to sever a service the public has come to rely on seems rather drastic to address some people abusing that system.”

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09/10/13 11:00am
09/10/2013 11:00 AM

CYNDI MURRAY PHOTO | Southold Town is planning to upgrade the Highway Department facility on Peconic Lane.

Southold Town board members are set to vote a measure tonight authorizing $3.5 million in funding for construction improvements to the town’s highway facility.

The aging highway department building on Peconic Lane is badly in need of repairs, according to Highway Superintendent Peter Harris. Mr. Harris has been working with the town for the past year to  budget for the work, which is beyond what the highway staff is capable of doing in-house, he said.

The proposed upgrades include the construction of a metal building containing a welding bay, service bays and administrative space, according to the resolution. The plan also calls for the demolition of the department’s existing fuel storage tanks and the construction of a consolidated fueling station, the document states.

The site would also house a pole barn and an outdoor truck washing area.

Also tonight, the public will have another chance to weigh in on a proposed revision to a parking restriction on Mill Lane in Peconic.

The latest reversion of the draft law would continue to ban parking on Mill Lane from the intersection of Soundview Avenue to the north end of the road and remove no parking signs from Soundview to RT 48, according to the draft law.

Addressing parking concerns on that road has been an uphill battle for residents and town officials.  The board believes the revision will solve the problem created two years ago when the town adopted a policy limiting all parking between Mill Lane and Route 48. The hope was to prevent overflow parking generated by Goldsmith Inlet beachgoers, who residents said littered the roads with trash.

However, that policy created another issue of signage posted every 50 feet long Mill Lane, which residents said made it difficult for guests and service providers to park outside their homes.

At the last public hearing on the issue in June, Mill Road residents indicated to board members that the parking restriction wasn’t warranted on the entire length of the road.

The hearing will be held during the town board regular meeting tonight at 4:30 p.m. in the Town Hall Annex.

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