Riverhead Town Board members, from left, George Gabrielsen, John Dunleavy, Jodi Giglio, Sean Walter and James Wooten presented March of Dimes representative Meera Aldrich with a proclamation marking 'World Prematurity Day' in the Town of Riverhead on Tuesday, Nov. 17. Photo: Denise Civiletti

There were no formal public hearings on the Riverhead Town Board’s agenda Tuesday night, resulting in a relatively quick meeting that got underway with another a capella performance by Riverhead resident Harriet Haas, who sang “Over the River and Through the Woods” and “My Favorite Things” prior to the board conducting its official business.

The board voted 4-1, Councilwoman Jodi Giglio dissenting, to pierce the property tax levy limitation and to adopt a 2016 operating budget of $92.7 million. See separate story. Prior to the budget adoption vote, the board voted unanimously to amend the preliminary budget to reallocate money to fund the hiring of additional part-time code enforcement officers and the purchase of new computer software for the building department and assessor’s office.

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Worker at the Riverhead Water District tower on Pulaski Street last month.
Photo: Denise Civiletti

In other action Tuesday, the board:

•  Appointed the Riverhead law firm of Smith, Finkelstein, Lundberg, Isler and Yakaboski to defend lawsuits brought in U.S. District Court by T-Mobile and Metro PCS over a dispute over the cellular communications companies’ rights to install new or additional antennas on Riverhead Water District towers.The cellular companies argue that they have the right to install the new equipment pursuant to existing leases with the Riverhead Water District. The water district argues that the new equipment will require additional space on the two towers — one in Wading River and one on Pulaski Street — and seeks additional compensation.

T-Mobile and Metro PCS last month asked a federal district court judge for an injunction to prevent the water district from blocking access by the companies to the facilities in question for the purpose of installing the new equipment.

•  Appointed a provisional principal accountant, Angelika Strahmann, of Selden, at an annual salary of $90,000.

•   Authorized the attendance of Riverhead Town Justice-elect Lori Hulse at the judicial certification course given in Albany by the N.Y. State Office of Court Administration Dec. 7-12. Hulse will be reimbursed for travel, lodging and meals up to $1,295.

•   Ratified the appointment of Jeanmarie Costello to another two-year term on the Riverhead ethics board. Costello’s term expired in June. Her new term will expire June 1, 2017.

•   Called a Dec. 1 public hearing on a proposal to limit parking in the municipal parking lot located to the east of the Salvation Army building (319 E. Main St.) to a maximum of three hours. The hearing is set for 2:05 p.m.

•   Approved an extension of time for seniors receiving enhanced STAR exemptions to remit real property taxes without penalty to June 7, 2016;

•   Approved special event permits for Riverhead Adventures to hold 5K mud runs on June 4 and Sept. 17, 2016 at the Calverton Enterprise Park.

•  Marked Nov. 17 as “Prematurity Awareness Day” in the Town of Riverhead by presenting a proclamation to Meera Aldrich, representative of the March of Dimes. Worldwide, 15 million babies are born preterm and more than a million die as a result, according to the March of Dimes. Babies who survive often have lifelong health problems such as cerebral palsy, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disabilities. The organization declared Nov. 17 “World Prematurity Day” and the month of November as Prematurity Awareness Month.

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Denise Civiletti
Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.