Brookhaven supervisor Ed Romaine said the top project for 2019 would be to continue to cap and close the landfill. The landfill has been an increasingly contentious topic for residents, with many complaints of odor lodged this year, not to mention allegations of its effect on the health of students and teachers at Frank P. Long Intermediate School, which sits on the other side of Sunrise Highway. Romaine acknowledged that the above-average rainfall this year has made progress on closing the landfill difficult.
Romaine explained that the town would work to create an energy park to sit on the site that is currently the landfill, about 46 acres. This includes installing solar panels and renting the energy and the space out to private companies. He said the capping would reduce odors “in the long run” and said the town has made a “commitment” to residents that it would close.
In terms of other top priorities for 2019, Romaine said keeping the budget on track was also important. He wants to keep building on the reserve funds that have been steadily increasing the past few years. This year’s budget is balanced, with no use of the reserve funds for the first time in over a decade.
Another major project for the supervisor will be to address climate change, especially along the shores and in communities like Mastic Beach, which have seen an increase in flooding and other issues. Similarly, Romaine wants to begin looking at alternative methods of producing energy, mainly solar, both for town and private use. Projects like the one at Town Hall and the goal of an energy park at the landfill site would bring in new sources of revenue while also combating climate change and reducing energy costs, Romaine said. He added that the town would be putting solar panels on the roof of their Farmingville headquarters this year or next. The environmental aspect is in concert with an effort to reduce costs as much as possible.
“We’re constantly interested in cutting costs,” Romaine said. “We’re going to be pinching pennies in every possible way, and still achieving our mission.”
Romaine also wants to approve customer service for the town — aside from the highway department, which is run by an independently elected official and does not report to the supervisor or town board.
“We are in the customer service business,” Romaine added.
Additionally, Romaine announced to the Advance that the town would soon begin an amnesty program for accessory apartments that are not yet registered with the town. Between Jan. 15 and March 1, residents with accessory apartments can register for a code inspection at no penalty, just normal fees. Romaine said this is an effort to bring all structures up to code.