Retired Sr. Master Sergeant Kevin Carrick, USAF, of Aquebogue, was honored by the Riverhead Town Board Nov. 16. Carrick is pictured with his wife Karen and parents Ginny and Darrell, as well as members of the town board, who presented him with a proclamation. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The Riverhead Town Board saluted retired Air Force Senior Master Sergeant Kevin Carrick of Aquebogue at its regular monthly meeting this week.

Carrick, 62, was tapped as grand marshal of the New York City Veterans Day Parade this year. See story: A hometown hero shines in national spotlight” (Nov. 12.)

Carrick was accompanied to the town board meeting with his wife Karen and his parents Ginny and Darrell Carrick of Riverhead. Board members thanked him for his service and presented him with a proclamation commemorating the honor of being named grand marshal of the NYC parade.

2022 operating budget unanimously adopted

Also at its meeting Tuesday evening, the town board unanimously adopted a $100.1 million operating budget for 2022, without changes to the tentative budget proposed by Supervisor Yvette Aguiar on Sept. 30. The budget trims the town-wide tax rate by 1.4%, or 80 cents per $1,000 of assessed value, from $58 to $57.20 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The board heard no comment from the public at its Nov. 3 budget hearing and received one written comment, made by Bryan Carroll of Miller Place, who voiced several complaints about the proposed budget and the budget process, including the town board’s failure to have department heads discuss their budget requests in a public forum, the reduction in the highway department’s budget, and the budget’s “over-reliance” on “one-shots like the Community Benefits Agreement” rather than on recurring revenue sources. Carroll served briefly as budget officer for former supervisor Laura Jens-Smith. The board did not address his comments prior to the vote.

“I want to thank the supervisor for giving us a budget with no tax increase. Our chief financial officer, Mr. Rothaar, and our department heads for working with the supervisor and with the board and creating this budget and not putting a load the burden on the taxpayers’ back,” Councilman Tim Hubbard said before casting his vote.

“It was a good budget,” Aguiar said. “We gave raises as we needed to our employees and we secured — we lessened spending in some areas. Increased — increased spending usually means that you gave more services to the taxpayers. And we did that also. And we didn’t lose any services. And most towns laid people off and we didn’t. So thank you for the board for supporting – those of you who supported my budget. I really appreciate it and onto next year,” Aguiar said before voting yes.

Board hears requests for federal community development funds

Also on Tuesday, the town board held a public hearing to solicit community comment on the allocation of federal Community Development Block Grant Funds in the coming year. The Town of Riverhead expects to receive about $200,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant Funds for fiscal year 2022.

CDBG funds may be used, and have been previously used for a variety of projects that benefit low and moderate income persons, aid in the prevention or elimination of slums or blight and/or meet a need having a particular urgency. Several nonprofit organizations that provide services to the Riverhead community requested funding during the hearing, including the Riverhead Community Awareness Program, Maureen’s Haven Homeless Outreach, the Butterfly Effect Project, Bread and More Kitchen, Church of the Harvest Food Pantry, Open Arms Care Center, and The Retreat. All have previously received CDBG funds through the Town of Riverhead.

The hearing record on the allocation of Riverhead’s Community Development Block Grant Funds for 2022 remains open for written comment through Dec. 17 at 4:30 p.m. Written comments should be submitted to the Riverhead Community Development Department, 200 Howell Avenue, Riverhead, New York 11901.

Hearing set on drive-in restaurant

The town board Tuesday assumed lead agency status, issued a declaration of non-significance and scheduled a public hearing on the special permit application of Inheritance Development Co. for a drive-in restaurant and retail store on a 1.8-acre site on the north side of Route 58 just west of Osborn Avenue.

The proposed site plan, which requires planning board approval, currently depicts a 5,000-square-foot retail store and a 2,238-square-foot, 74-seat restaurant.

The drive-in use is allowed only by special permit of the town board.

The action was classified last year as a Type I action under the State Environmental Quality Review Act.

The site plan was developed to accommodate a proposed Sonic drive-in restaurant. The plan has been around since 2015 or 2016, planning aide Greg Bergman told the board at its Nov 10 work session. The plan has been revised to eliminate the need for any variances, Bergman said.

The planning board, which also circulated a request to assume lead agency status on the application, was concerned about the potential for traffic congestion resulting from the use and its impact on ambulances leaving the adjacent Riverhead Volunteer Ambulance Corps headquarters, Bergman said. The site plan shows an entrance to the site on Osborn Avenue, in addition to an entrance and exit on Route 58.

A traffic report prepared by the applicant’s traffic engineering consultant indicates the use “would result in slightly increased delays at the intersection of Old Country Road and Osborn Avenue but would not degrade the levels of service at this intersection,” according to the town board resolution adopted Tuesday.

The town board set a Dec. 7 public hearing on the special permit application for the drive-in use. The hearing is scheduled to being at 2:15 p.m.

Hearing set on charter school plan for Northville schoolhouse

The town board Tuesday also assumed lead agency status, issued a declaration of non-significance and scheduled a public hearing on the special permit application of the Riverhead Charter School to convert a two-story building on Sound Avenue in Northville into a schoolhouse. The use is allowed only by special permit of the town board.

The schoolhouse is intended for use as a high school by the Riverhead Charter School, and would have an enrollment of about 105 students, according to town documents.

The town board scheduled a Dec. 7 public hearing on the special permit application. The hearing is scheduled to begin at 2:10 p.m.

Change order for town square demo project

The town board, on the recommendation of the town engineer, approved a $78,889 change order for the demolition contract awarded to J. Petrocelli Contracting in connection with the demolition of 117 and 121 East Main Street. The two buildings were purchased by the town for demolition to make way for the proposed town square.

According to the resolution approving the change order, “during the demolition work on 117 & 121 East Main Street and removal of layers of flooring some layers it was found that some of the flooring materials contain asbestos and as such, the Town of Riverhead is required by law to have this abated by a licensed asbestos abatement company.”

The supporting documents attached to the resolution indicate that approximately 5,600 square feet of floor tile and 5,600 square feet of adhesive found at 121 East Main Street contains asbestos and about 100 linear feet of pipe wrap on the first and second floors of 117 East Main Street contains asbestos.

Personnel changes

Planning aide Greg Bergman has been provisionally promoted to the position of planner, effective Nov. 22.

Bergman has been employed as a planning aide since Aug. 29, 2016. The promotion comes with a $12,700 raise. His new salary, pursuant to the town’s contract with the Civil Service Employees Association will be $78,433 per year, the town board resolution states.

The county’s Department of Civil Service reviewed Bergman’s duties and responsibilities and reclassified his position to the title of planner, according to the resolution, which said the county agency issued a provisional memorandum to allow Bergman to be appointed to the post.

Cheryl Franco of Aquebogue has been appointed budget officer and chief of staff in the supervisor’s office at an annual salary of $62,500. The town board on Tuesday ratified her appointment by the supervisor effective Nov. 10. Franco fills the vacancy created by the appointment of Lisa Richards to the position of deputy receiver of taxes.

Donna Sadowsky, secretary in the supervisor’s office, resigned effective Nov. 5. Sadowsky has offered to work part-time, up to 16 hours per week, for one month to train a new secretary, who has not yet been named.

Tanesha Clinton has been appointed as a part-time driver-messenger at an hourly rate of $14.50.

Madeline Cavaluzzi is retiring from her position as custodial worker, effective Dec. 17.

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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.