Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell said at a work session last Tuesday that he plans to include a commitment of nearly a million dollars to stormwater mitigation and drainage throughout the community in an upcoming budget presentation to the board.
Half of those funds are meant to address flooding areas and road runoff, which contribute to nitrogen loading and, consequently, algal blooms. The other half will go toward a vacuum truck. Mr. Russell said the allocation should cover funding for the next seven or eight years.
“Money is cheap right now, borrowing is cheap,” he said. “Taxpayer money, yes, but I think that taxpayers are more than willing to commit $500,000 of taxpayer dollars if it improves drainage in their areas.”
“I think, environmentally, it’s critical to get to the end of this,” said board member Bob Ghosio, who has been a key advocate for stormwater mitigation projects. He requested that Mr. Russell include funds for the project in the budget presentation and drafted a detailed plan for the bond. “So many of our creeks and bays are much cleaner than we used to think that they were … What we’re doing is obviously working,” he said.
Although there are other sources of funding to tackle getting rid of outfalls, town engineer Michael Collins said the town would run out of funds to handle internal flooding issues by the end of 2022.
Mr. Russell also plans to look into funding for manpower in the highway department, which is sorely understaffed, according to Mr. Collins.