Supervisor Yvette Aguiar answers questions from members of the Heart of Riverhead Civic Association at Riverhead Free Library Sept. 17. Photo: Denise Civiletti

The Heart of Riverhead Civic Association hosted Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar Saturday for a question-and-answer session about local issues. The conversation took place at Riverhead Free Library. Heart of RIverhead Civic Association cofounder Cindy Clifford moderated the event. Aguiar answered questions submitted to her in advance, as well as questions from members of the audience.

Listen to audio recording below.

Supervisor Aguiar on working with town government:

The statement that you made concerning working with Town Hall, I mean, that should be a given, because that’s what government is all about. And sometimes we decided we’re going to separate that and speak against it. You don’t accomplish anything, when you take that approach. And recently, in the last 10 years, across the world, people are starting to explore that division, that kind of says, not every town. And so now there’s actually a movement, which I think is probably going to work towards that end, is to bring government together. So you can collaborate. Whether the issue is inflammatory, or the issue is — or it’s an event or something positive. And it happened. MIT was doing was trying to, was working with a software bringing government together on projects. And they gave examples where there was some immigration issues that people didn’t want to hear. And where was, and the whole community just became, and they created a software to bring them together. And within months, they agreed to go forward. And it was all resolved. And everybody walked away quite happy. So anyway that movement. And then I think that’s where you probably want to go.

HRCA moderator:

Several of our members have expressed concern with quality of life issues that are related to the homeless population of our town. Do you have any specific proposals that we can relate to our members to start addressing this issue? And for residents who are directly impacted, what can they do other than call the police to help?

Supervisor Aguiar:

It’s a complex issue. And I agree with you, everybody strives in life for the same things. shelter, food, water, love, regardless of who you are, where you come from, where you live. We need that, right? It’s the Maslow theory, where it’s a triangle, and you can’t go to the next level, unless you have the lower level, the last level is shelter. Because if you’re hungry, and in the streets, you can’t find love, or anything, you can’t find work.

And the homeless is a complex issue. It’s somewhat prevalent here in Riverhead in the last — I think COVID exasperated — all the churches that house our homeless in the evenings. Remember, they closed? And they were out, they were out. When all the churches closed, I got a call from Maureen’s Haven, and there was nine vulnerable homeless, and then we’re gonna put them in a tent in the park, in the state park here in Riverhead and I’m saying to myself, wow, everybody’s gonna flock here with cameras, and we’re gonna be the center of COVID. And I called the county executive. And I said, I need help here. And they said go through the social services. I said, no, they did that. And they were turned down because the system was overburdened. I said, but it’s only nine. You can find somewhere in Suffolk County, you can find nine beds, you have a pandemic, they need food, they need water, they closed our churches, we don’t have any housing. And this was on a Saturday morning, another call to try to open up a train station, we were going to plan A plan B. And finally, next day, I got a call from the director. And by Tuesday, they placed all nine homeless, not only the night that were vulnerable — and one had brain surgery. So his head was wrapped up, horrible, I got a call — not only that they placed all nine, they place all 33 in the system. And that takes effort and that — you need lines of communication with social services.

HRCA moderator:

And to think that that’s— it’s so close, you know, and I know sometimes on the benches by the river, like is there anything that can be done? I mean, we really want to look at a long-term solution obviously. So, but in the short term solution, like, what are the options? Like if you see someone, you know, who clearly needs something like, what, what can we do? You know, how can we help them? Aside from like, here’s a sandwich, how can we help them, like make a difference in their life?

On working with town government Well, unfortunately, as a result of cashless bail, a lot more of individuals are, there is no intervention sometimes when you need it. And then you have homeless, not necessarily that they have to go through the criminal justice system. But when sometimes people need help, whether it’s a mental issue, whether it’s a narcotics issue, and sometimes the courts can designate these individuals to get the services that they need. And that’s that’s one point that we can address. As we all know, again, mostly homeless, have mental conditions and drug, possible drug addiction, some are financially, some are financially disabled, —challenged. And so there is a few things that we can do. And Riverhead has no money along those lines. For example, the gazebo on the waterfront, when we noticed that there was drug sales and things were happening there. At one point, somebody reported that there was a mattress there, people were sleeping. So we took the gazebo, replaced it. And we took out some of the benches. And now the area is quite open. And clean. There’s been talk and I intend to set it up is to meet with the sheriff concerning releases, and they’re going right back into Riverhead, to community. They’re supposed to have a system where they go back to the communities where they came from. So that’s a compensation we need to have.

HRCA moderator:

I know that, you know, committees tend to not always be really effective. But you know, maybe if you call it like an action team or something, did you consider maybe putting together like a coalition of people who could maybe come up with some new approaches to this issue? Because it does seem to be like it’s kind of a hidden problem in some regards. But in some regards, it’s right there. When you if you if you’re looking for it, you’ll see it.

Supervisor Aguiar:

You know, and we should take care. We live in a very diverse community and we should all be very — And there is certain members of the community who can’t function and not have the essentials that they need in life, then it’s up to us. It’s also the residents, you should be speaking to your legislators, you should be speaking to your police department and give information as to where things might be occurring.

Supervisor Yvette Aguiar and Heart of Riverhead Civic Association moderator Cindy Clifford during at light moment at Riverhead Free Library Sept. 17, where the civic hosted a conversation with the supervisor.

HRCA moderator:

Would you be comfortable with my asking if there’s a question from the audience? Because we were gonna try to vacillate back and forth. Can I ask if there’s somebody if you have a question? And again, if if Yvette doesn’t have the answer for you right this minute, we will follow up.

Supervisor Aguiar:

And I actually have the questions with me. So I like to get it out. Because I think it’s all of all your questions that you provided me were excellent. And I did — we did do research to make sure you had accurate, precise information.

Angela Eckstrom:

Angela Eckstrom. I actually wrote something out. Can I just read it? Good morning. My name is Angela Edstrom, and I’m a lifelong resident of Riverhead. From a very young age, I’ve always felt safe in Riverhead. Until now, we’re dealing with the surge in crime and also the homelessness epidemic, which that was one of my questions…in the night to the homeless sleeping all over our streets. I’m here to address both issues. Currently, I reside in Polish town I deal with Maureen’s Haven just next door to my home. This facility helps house the homeless to different areas here on the eastern side of Suffolk County. Screaming starts as they step foot on on my street, the drug use in the streets. When it’s a drug and alcohol free facility. Nothing is enforced. This place also needs to be relocated outside a residential neighborhood. It does nothing to help the crisis but then to enable it. There’s garbage also thrown all over our blocks as well. We also know there’s an encampment off Pulaski street behind Riverhead Building Supply but yet it still stands, knowing that it’s there. My daughter is 16 years old and she is a walker at the high school. She’s in fear to even walk to and from school because either being approached by homeless men or intimidated just by their presence on the sides the streets, she has been whistled at or called over countless times. Let’s just say she no longer is allowed to walk to school and we live point seven mile away. I’m empathetic for most of these people and it breaks my heart to see them in such need, but at what expense? our neighborhood being destroyed. People can no longer feel safe in their own property when dusk hits. Unlawful trespassing, to burglaries of cars in the area, everyone has been dealing with this huge issue lately. My questions are regarding these issues, is what does the town plan to address the homelessness epidemic, and also the crime surge we are seeing to make us feel safer in our own home at night.

Supervisor Aguiar:

And I fully understand your concern, it’s a concern that we all have, including myself. I live here. Unfortunately, the rise in crime is a national issue. We have to take care of it. You can’t just say it’s a national issue an accept it. And we have added two additional code officers since I took office, we have to grow the department. But we also need your help. We need you, when you say there is an encampment here, report it. You have the police, you have code. Code has to follow up on it. And sometimes people are concerned they don’t want identify themselves. You can make the complaint anonymously. And then you can follow up, you have a code and see what what is going on. We also need to enhance our police department. That’s something that I’m working on. And taking very seriously. You need to — We have to hire officers. I’m doing the analysis. And we know that we have to enhance our police department. Enhancing the police department by numbers. ((you say we don’t let officers with exactly what )) you have to know how to deploy them and what strategies to use. Personally looking at my past experience in law enforcement, as a supervisor, as a detective, as a police officer, there are some strategies that we might have to change. And if we grow the code, which we are, I put one guy on the weekends so that we can have more coverage, one guy has to work later on in the evening.. And so you — just getting officers doesn’t necessarily mean a code. You have to be able to deploy them so they can become effective.

Angela Eckstrom:

I went to make a complaint I’m so sorry to cut you off, but I once make an appointment with the code enforcement and they said they can only deal with garbage and that there is only one woman that is dealing with the issue with going through paperwork and filing

Supervisor Aguiar:

We have five code enforcement officers.

Angela Eckstrom:

She told me there was one.

HRCA moderator:

Do you have the name of the person you spoke to?

Angela Eckstrom:

There was a young woman with dark hair. She works in the code enforcement she’s the first

Supervisor Aguiar:

I’ll tell you what — call my office we’ll take you to code and make sure that that gets handled.

Angela Eckstrom:

Yeah, I was only told that they deal with garbage.

Supervisor Aguiar:

That’s garbage.

We need it — the public’s help also. Again and I stress that we can’t do this alone. We can’t be everywhere. Getting back to the riverfront. Now we’re putting in electrical sockets that you can put the outlets, you can’t charge a phone on. That was always an issue there. And also, when I said before, that we need to deploy appropriately and strategize.

Supervisor Aguiar:

We said about taxes that we can use right? And Southampton. We, we get about 61 million – I think it’s just to get —

HRCA moderator:

A big pile of money. Go ahead.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Hold on, I want to get my numbers, right, because I was looking at this. Southampton get $71 million where they could deploy. A lot of their calls are service. They actually have a lot of calls because a lot of them are service. People that don’t necessarily live here and they come in quickly and they panic. They don’t have a lot of friends or whatever. And then they call the police — were assisted. We uh 60 — I believe it’s 61%. Annmarie, what’s the budget of 61% goes to school?

Councilman Bob Kern:

59%

Supervisor Aguiar:

Okay, so the remainder goes to us, unfortunately, those — it equates to 71. So a lot of times people say to me, well, Southampton has this and that, unfortunately, that’s not going to be the case — and move to Southampton. Their taxes are lower. And then they have mega mansions. Their CPF fund is over the top. And the average house is a million. I was talking to the supervisor last Wednesday of East Hampton. And he says you can’t find anything to live — minimum now a shack costs a million dollars. But we have a great police department, and we know we have to enhance it. We’re going to work on it. And these are code and our police department and even the fire marshals, we have to work on that. Definitely, that’s the enforcement component.

HRCA moderator:

We also asked if there were some questions, and I’m going to tie them all together about what’s going on with the planning department and the comprehensive plan. And then like the whole battery storage thing.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Okay, so those are planning concerns. And know one of your questions were about possible disappointment with Jeff Murphree, I really can’t speak concerning personnel matters, There is guidance on this.

HRCA moderator:

So you can’t answer the question whether you still have faith in him?

Supervisor Aguiar:

Well, I could say that we we need to work with him a little closer. There are certain instances that I haven’t been satisfied. People in Town Hall, and obviously the community. And— but as far as what we’re gonna do, where we’re going, that’s not something that we’re allowed to discuss. And also the entire town board has to decide, so it’s not just myself, it’s the entire town board.

HRCA moderator:

Where do we stand with the comprehensive plan because I know that we had kind of had to hire a new firm to do that.

Supervisor Aguiar 03:10

Okay, we haven’t done that. But we are about to. Okay, so the latest comprehensive plan, unfortunately, it started during COVID. And it got delayed. And the planning department was charged with ensuring that all the people and all the components — they did create a lot of community outreach, and all that material we can use, so it’s not lost. But it got to a point — I had as a liaison Tim Hubbard. And it got to a point that they weren’t functioning and we had to sever. And of course, we had a contract, so I had to go to the attorney’s office. And there came a point that the entire town board decided collectively, we can’t continue. Their work wasn’t up to par. They should have done quite a bit more. And so we reached out and put it out. We had three finalists that was brought before the board they presented before the board and we did get, we get— we did get the costs. And hopefully it’s not gonna— hopefully it’s gonna be equal to what’s left. We severed the contract, there is no further payments at this point. If not, they will — if there is, it’s not going to be a substantial amount of money. We’re not starting again. And again, some of the information we can use.

HRCA moderator:

And then what about the — I mean, I’m not even sure what a battery storage facility is. It sounds to me like a cabinet when you open up it’s full of Ever Ready. I know There are residents who live in vague proximity to some of the areas that might be planned for this, that are concerned. And I also know about the various different warehouse projects that are being proposed. So where does any of that — where does that fit in with like a comprehensive plan?

Supervisor Aguiar:

It has to be included if it’s gonna exist. However, we have to research it, we don’t know the impacts to the environment, and the impacts to the residents. This is new technology. And it will be up to the comprehensive plan, whoever is designated as the next company to update our comprehensive plan, it’s left up to them to do the research.

HRCA moderator:

So this probably — nothing is going to happen till the comprehensive plan?

Supervisor Aguiar:

It should not happen. Can people try to put projects forward and so forth? We’re not ready, we don’t even know if it’s going to exist. And one concern that we have is where is it going to exist? It — it’s a multi prong research, right, we have to see — where it’s going to. Look at safety concerns. Does the community need this? Is it going to help the community? And if so, if we’re going to decide, and again there’s public hearings, right? Do we want this right? Because it has to go into the code? And then, where is it gonna go? We’re really beginning to form those types of decisions on that. And it is a concern. And I understand the concern, you know why? Because it’s new, we don’t have answers. So it should not be done ad hoc. And there is a process for it. And the the comprehensive plan, designated company who is designated by the town board, who’s going to have to be charged with that.

HRCA moderator:

Can we ask another question? Another question? Yes.

Ethel Sussman:

I’m going to go back to the issue of the police and crime. You mentioned that you have various ideas about different ways of deploying police force and so on. And also the the issue with the cameras and wondering what is the timetable for installing these cameras? It seems like I’ve been hearing about the cameras for a long time. And also your — based on your own experience, your ideas about deployment when you’re deploying them? What are those ideas? And what is the timetable for doing that? Because it seems to, you know, we all seem to agree that the situation is getting worse — and therefore more urgent, so I’m wondering what, what is your timetable for working with the chief and establishing, putting your ideas and other ideas into play?

Supervisor Aguiar:

Okay, and that’s a great question. You stated that you’ve heard for a long time it’s about to start. It’s no a longer talk, ma’am. We already passed a resolution, and we already allocated $200,000 for it. We have the locations identified. And now the company is going to give us a work schedule. And hopefully they’re gonna start very soon. Hopefully, within a few weeks. Everything was done. It’s no longer talk. There’s action. There’s progress. And a lot of times what holds up government is, obviously, is money. The money’s been allocated. The money is coming out of the American Rescue Fund, which a lot of towns are utilizing in law enforcement. And as far as the strategy, we don’t normally talk about strategy in law enforcement and security. Because then people get to know what’s going on. And they just go down to another neighborhood. So we don’t say 24 hours a day, on the riverfront, two cops, meeting in the middle and whatever, What do you think is gonna happen? It’s not gonna go away. It may go away when you look out the window. But somebody looking out, you know, in another part of town, it’s gonna be there. So you can’t put a Band-Aid in security and in law enforcement. So you have to address in a long-term — with a long term approach. And you also don’t necessarily give out your strategy. Okay. There’s a term in law enforcement. It’s called omnipresence and that’s how can you see police officers driving all over. Part of the is to drive because you don’t know where you’re going to turn a corner and find a police officer. All right, so we say we’re not— we’re taking away omnipresence. That’s a strategy for law enforcement. So everybody says, Oh, good, all we have to do is look, because we don’t see them, they’re not going to pop up and see us and approach us. So unfortunately, we don’t necessarily —  general strategies? Yeah, — we’re going to enforce this area, we’re going to have more foot patrol, I was actually hoping to get like a little booth at the riverfront. But I intend to present that to the board where the officers could just check in and just have a little bit more of a presence there.

HRCA moderator:

Do you want to — is there a question there that you want to talk about?

Supervisor Aguiar:

Oh, somebody talked about the speed, speed limit? Oh, 35 to 30. And I thought that was a great question.

HRCA moderator:

That woman wrote, she was very nice. She couldn’t make it today, because she had some issues.

Supervisor Aguiar:

So I believe it’s possible, especially around uh —

HRCA moderator:

Is that a state — is it a town—

Supervisor Aguiar:

I’m going to cover to that. That’s what happens when you give me questions, I’m prepared and I can give you real answers, not fake answers.

Supervisor Aguiar:

So, the question was, can we go 30 to 35? I thought it was a great idea. Maybe in some areas we can, especially around Harrison Avenue and Riley you know how windy — Every time I go through that stop sign. I’m like, okay. So yes, in 20 — I think it was last year, 2022, Annemarie Prudenti our town attorney worked with Palumbo, and they created a legislative act in Albany to allow us to change our, our code. However, we have to be mindful of state towns, because then we have to get approval. And we also have, if you don’t know, I spent a lot of time looking at military stuff and access roads and Calverton, the history of it and some of our streets are military access roads, so people to be able to evacuate, and you can’t just go we’re going to change —we’re going to close the street down. Right? That’s their federal plan, in case there’s a natural or manmade disaster, to come and give us aid. We can’t just it’s easy to say, this street or this street. So yes, we can. However, those state streets, we have to make sure that we check. And obviously, if they’re access roads, federal access roads, we have to ensure — I don’t think the federal government — they already have plans, what trucks are gonna go there, it was all part of the emergency national response. That’s already there, if something happens. And I don’t think you can change that. So I wouldn’t even bother knowing the federal route to change any type of code or widen or make shorter —

HRCA moderator:

But as far as Middle Road, that’s something you can do

Supervisor Aguiar:

Parts of Middle Road

HRCA moderator:

But there’s this stretch that goes by a lot of the senior communities. And I believe she means like, from Roanoke, maybe to Northville Turnpike..

Supervisor Aguiar:

You could probably get that from the attorney’s office. So they’ll look at the code, and they’ll see how it’s designated. Because these are codes that

HRCA moderator:

Now would that be a call that she should make to request?

Supervisor Aguiar:

The chief is is charged with the traffic safety in this town. And a lot of the questions should be going into him.

HRCA moderator:

That’s good to know.

Supervisor Aguiar:

I have in the past, on two occasions, asked for a stop sign on Harrison. And he didn’t think it was feasible because he thought people would not see it until they got up on top. But that’s something that people should have a discussion of.

HRCA moderator:

That’s really helpful to know that, if you have like a traffic or road or something like that it’s not necessarily a town government issue as much as it is deemed by the police.

Supervisor Aguiar:

And he’s responsible for researching the roads.

HRCA moderator:

Now let me dovetail right into the, you know, people have been saying that they have complaints with cars parked on, you know, on sidewalks and blocking light through traffic areas. Is there anything that can be done about that?

Supervisor Aguiar:

So we, we recently created the legislation, banning parking and blocking from the residence and I understand there was a public hearing, and there was two sides to — Right?

HRCA moderator:

Because if there’s more than two cars in the driveway you have to put it somewhere.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Exactly. But that’s something that the I’m gonna have the town attorney —

HRCA moderator:

So that is a town issue and not the police.

Supervisor Aguiar:

No, we have to create the code, right, the code. So the police and code enforcement enforce it. So we can’t just go and say, well that’s not proper, because you’re actually at I think outside of your responsibilities as law enforcement officers, and you should not make your own rules. So you need a code, just like a penal law, right? When you get arrested, you’re charged with homicide, which is 125 penal law code 125.25. And you have to list that as the charges against you, right?. What charges to — and it’s your personal property.

HRCA moderator:

But the sidewalk, I mean, that strip of land from the street.

Supervisor Aguiar:

So every street has its designation, right, no parking, certain places, limited parking. Those are code violations. And again, let’s stress that we need to we need the public to work together.

HRCA moderator:

And what’s the best way for people to send in their input? I mean, like, who do they call, someone has an issue? And they have a question or they have a complaint? What’s what’s the most direct contact to make?

Supervisor Aguiar:

So we have — sometimes it fluctuates — what? About 12 department heads, and they get paid quite a bit. The salary is pretty hefty. And their job is — that’s their expertise. And their job — Say we have a question concerning taxes. I can’t help. I don’t like the fact that I have to pay them. I can’t, I can’t I don’t know how to assess that. I don’t have training in it. The best person would be the tax assessor. You have a code issue. Go. Also, utilize online, it is effective. As soon as that complaint comes in it’s documented and they have a certain amount of time. You have a question as far as the state road, like we talked about it, the town attorney, because that’s a legal. There’s four town attorneys.

HRCA moderator:

On the website. But on the website, if you put in a search for what your question is, will it direct you to the right thing?

Supervisor Aguiar:

No. Other towns — uh — we need to address that. I spoke to the head of our IT recently to start exploring. Of course, again, another cost factor. Everything that you do with IT, you know that.

HRCA moderator:

Is there — is that something that you could look within the community, because there are a lot of people who know a lot about it in this community, rather than going to some giant firm. I mean, just an idea like that.

Supervisor Aguiar:

In the public sector, your idea can work easily, you know, this company or that company. There is a sense of — you can’t have somebody who says I’m gonna help you fix your computers, and we’re gonna do it for free, and then they know how to sabotage you. So that’s the —that’s the security again, we’re talking about security. You don’t have people know where your server is. When I took office in January 2020 — And I teach cybersecurity. Okay. And security is — I don’t know if you know that, that’s my expertise. I have a PhD in business, but what is homeland security, I teach security. I currently teach the military how to secure the bases and it’s all online.

HRCA moderator:

So we’re not going to have the high school kid come in and do it.

Supervisor Aguiar:

So we know that we cannot, you’re making yourself vulnerable. And, you know, we’re not really allowed to take that kind of free service.

HRCA moderator:

It’s always that idea of, of small business and doing business. Like I think a lot of us try to do business within the community with, you know —

Supervisor Aguiar:

And that’s a good approach within the community. But you want somebody who has the full expertise. It’s an outside person who’s responsible, whose license is on the line if you do something and release information, sabotage the system. So that’s a that’s a little bit of a security issue.

HRCA moderator:

There. I’m not sure how we’re doing on time because you’re the one who

Devon Higgins:

10 minutes

Okay, Is there something else you would love to talk?

Supervisor Aguiar:

Let me finish your questions.

So actually, we missed out. The tennis courts are being resurfaced, right. And in two to three weeks, we should have we have the funding. We’re going to start the the basketball courts and and let’s see. The speed limit we’ve covered and the overcrowding again, it should be a team effect. And, you know, I’ve failed to mention that we had three, recently we had three — with our new town attorney who’s assigned to code. She’s fabulous. She’s great. She already started three more Supreme Court decisions. And she’s working through clearing the calendar, because the calendar was really behind because of COVID. And mind you there was no evictions during COVID. Wecouldn’t enforce certain laws. So now we are the courts are now taking the supreme court actions. They weren’t taking them unless it was an absolute emergency with approval of the chief judge, which was impossible for us to get. So now we just started. So it’s definitely a work in progress. So, you asked about the battery storage, we know that. We definitely need to analyze the impacts to our community.

And the planning board meetings.

HRCA moderator:

Oh, can you put them on Zoom.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Yes. So we — Thursday, I asked the town attorney’s office to put up a resolution for us to continue conducting public hearings, uh excuse me, meetings, we are going to continue to do it on Zoom. And we’re going to allow the public to come in. We’re just making it official and three board members must be present, according to the legislation. The state actually wrote the legislation for us, for every town, obviously, because they stopped the emergency on September 12. They stopped the emergency executive order that you can conduct them from any location and you don’t have to be in person. So they — she didn’t update the order. So now it expired. But we do have a resolution where we’re gonna all be worked out. And again, another public hearing.

HRCA moderator:

So that’s the town board and the planning board.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Well, the planning board, they’re usually posted on channel 22. And people can go and people can go to the public hearings, obviously, and comment, but —

HRCA moderator:

I think we’re talking about specifically with the planning board and being able to comment on Zoom.

Supervisor Aguiar:

On the public hearings. Yes, absolutely. Okay,

HRCA moderator:

But not just it’s not just comments. Okay. Just public hearings.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Yeah. Public comments on public hearing. Okay. What else? Nothing’s changed since COVID was just keeping. Let’s see what else you had — the quality of life issues again. We need to, we got to step it up. And we’re learning. And we covered everything else. Excellent.

HRCA moderator:

Can we take another question? Okay, want to ask a short question, Tom?

Thomas McSwane:

Yes, since all these positive things take money, I must be missing something. Because the town is always giving new businesses tax abatements, and I don’t understand why they do that because isn’t that tax dollars that the town could be collecting to help fund all of these things that we need to do.

Supervisor Aguiar:

Okay, so you often hear that they got a tax credit or they don’t have to pay taxes. And that’s not really necessarily the case. The IDA how they operate sometimes can be difficult to understand. The purpose is to bring business here and enhance the community. Bring whatever profits to the public… And then move forward. Any — for instance you have the industrial areas where you can build — and they’re supposed to work hand in hand. So their job is to navigate. As far as not paying taxes? That’s not the case. What they do get exempt for is from paying state tax on the supplies. So that doesn’t go back to our community. So — Look, they’re giving all these tax breaks…

HRCA moderator:

When we hear about like a 10-year tax abatement, the perception is —

Supervisor Aguiar:

As they build, as they build, they pay taxes. It’s an empty piece of land. Right? We’re not collecting, right? Especially if it’s a town land, we’re not collecting. So now, through this process, okay. Give us your project. We’re going to review it. Tell us how you’re going to formulate that plan to get to the full build out. All right? You’re saying in two years, we’re gonna have a thousand square feet for commercial — we’re taking a little project — we should do it bigger because it’s a small store. 10,000 square feet. But the whole project is going to be 25,000. So, okay, when you build that, you’re going to give us taxes on that. And then when you build the next level, or the further expansion, and so it — it’s a scale that’s built in until the project, and at the point that the whole project is completed. You’re paying full taxes on the property.

Kathy Berezny:

I just want you to be aware, Yvette, that, you know, Friday night, my friend, I live around the corner from her, heard gunshots, and the next day — we thought it was fireworks, because sometimes they do fireworks in the neighborhood, but she saw people in the wetlands, and you know, and then she didn’t see her deer. It’s a beautiful piece of property, the deer come out and graze. So the object is, she did call the police and she did see people in the wetlands, but by the time police come, they’re gone. So, that’s something to be aware that we have to watch, you know, what’s going and if you see people on your property.

Yvette Aguiar:

And so that’s a perfect example of working with the with the government. You let us know that this possible hunting there. Maybe there isn’t. We don’t know what — that there’s possible hunting there. The police did respond, right. That was a reactive approach. And it’s good for us to know. And it’s good for the officers whose — remember we talked about omnipresence —that decide they’re going to drive there. Let me take a good look in there and see if there’s everybody there.

Kathy Berezny:

Just want you to know. And also in that same area, there was a woman, a young girl walking, and she wouldn’t go to a house that had no cars, she went to a house and did have cars. But my friend was in the shower. So she wouldn’t answer the doorbell. But she saw the girl with a backpack. And then she went to an elderly person’s house across the street. And of course, elderly people give too much information. But the woman was looking for a ride to Hamilton Street — Hamilton Avenue. So again, I said to her to — we need to contact the police. So when she did leave the woman, she said I can’t take you. My husband is ill. She went down to the stop sign. She didn’t go to Hamilton Avenue. She just proceeded right down the avenue. So so that’s something that if somebody’s listening, you need to be aware.

Supervisor Aguiar:

When someone is soliciting, whether it’s a ride or selling whatever, call the police

There should be personal safety and we should be aware.

A few years ago I was installing an alarm. And it was 1130 at night because in the basement and I’m putting putting the system online. But as we go into this whole thing, and all of a sudden there was a bang on the door. And it’s 11 and I’m by myself. I say to myself, like whoa. So I looked through and I see police officers. I didn’t recognize them. I have a gun in my house. I’m not scared of people but I was like, I’m not too sure that’s who it is. And I know who he is. I actually asked them to give me ID. And they showed me the ID through the glass. Then I let him in and he says your panic button went off. So I said, really? I just started installing — well the service dog that I had. I had dropped the remote and the service dog chewed on it.

So I’m talking to officers and I’m like embarrassed. I have like like my house dress on and I’m trying to like, it was like I kicked something, so I picked it up and it’s chewed on.

HRCA moderator:

I think that we’re almost out of time.

Supervisor Aguiar:

So I think we got a lot of information out.

HRCA moderator:

I think there are still like probably a ton of questions that that will come in afterwards. I want to do this every month.

Supervisor Aguiar:

And a lot of other civic groups are calling. So, but you do have a liaison, right? Rothwell is the liaison to the anti-bias. (The Anti-Bias Task force)

And just we need you and we’re here to help you, to get you through it. Tap on those department heads. People like always, I try to respond. I — sometimes I miss emails, and one day I got 132. And you miss some. You delete it, and then you realize you deleted. So department heads. It’s your tax dollars. They’re the experts. Um, somebody emailed me the other day and I referred it to highway. I have a lot of — I’m not — I can’t physically go there. I’m not the engineer. I’m not the highway. Like, this is the person that — you elected him. You need to go to him and get it addressed. So it’s that now you know this, that that was put out there.

HRCA moderator:

Well, thank you so much.


Audio recording transcribed by https://otter.ai

Click red arrow to play audio recording:

Editor’s note: Due to a technical glitch, the first question concerning soda machines installed at Stotzky Park and the supervisor’s answer to the question were not captured on the audio recording.

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