Program to help businesses with sewer hookup
A program proposed by Legis. Rudy Sunderman would give some assistance to small business owners who need to hook up to the sewer system in Mastic and Shirley, after a resolution passed in January approving Phases 1 and 2. Only businesses in the approved phases are available for this program right now.
The program would create a partnership with Bridgehampton National Bank, which would provide low-interest loans to business owners for up to 15 years. The interest would be below market rate. Sunderman said this system has been used by the county in the past and could help Mastic and Shirley businesses prevent harm from financial burden.
A public hearing for the program was held at the last meeting of the Legislature on March 4, where only two people spoke, both asking for aid from the county. Beth Wahl, president of the chamber of commerce, said it could be a “death knell” for many businesses if they don’t get help.
“We are very concerned about the cost of the hookups for our small businesses and the effect on them,” she said at the hearing.
The estimated cost is $20,000 per business. Residential hookups will be installed free of charge, due to grant money provided by FEMA. Businesses were not included in that program. They would also be responsible for the yearly maintenance cost, as are all residents. Susan Kennedy, an owner of Tend Coffee in Shirley, also asked for help, saying rising labor costs have also put a strain on businesses and this payment would be incredibly difficult.
Sunderman recessed the public hearing to the next meeting of the Legislature, as he waits on responses from Assemb. Fred Thiele and Sen. Monica Martinez, who are both vying for a total of $500,000 in grant money for this program.
State of the sewer project
The project is moving forward in Mastic and Shirley, as engineers are currently going door to door and surveying residents. The surveys are the first step in the planning stages, as each home will have a different setup, which engineers will take into consideration when planning for construction. They will also take photos and gather information from homeowners.
For any questions on the process, call Legis. Rudy Sunderman’s office at 631-852-1300.
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