Just because the East End economy has rebounded from the most recent recession doesn’t mean East Hampton should stop trying to cut costs and generate new revenue this summer. Now is the time to open a discussion before the summer onslaught begins. In consideration of this, I have devised a strategy that, if implemented, could simultaneously reduce spending and increase revenue.
Pay Toilets – The days of 10-cent and 25-cent pay toilets has come and gone. All East Hampton public toilets should be pay-to-go. And they should cost $5 per session. Wake up! This is a captive summer audience. When someone has to go number two (number one is easy to execute outside the confines of a secure setting) they are willing to pay a premium for the benefit of a sheltered environment. Do East Hampton politicians think the construction, ongoing maintenance and resupplying of toilet paper should be free? I beg to differ.
Use of Ocean – It goes without saying that a fee should be charged to use the ocean. Is the monitoring of the ocean, staffing of lifeguards and providing a comfortable beach atmosphere without a cost? Nay I say. Many will argue that beach parking fees pay for this, but I ask you: If beach parking fees pay for use of the ocean, which fees pay for use of the parking lot?
Carbon Footprint – Summer tourists visit East Hampton and leave their carbon footprint without reconciling their environmental account. If a non-local sets foot in East Hampton, they should be charged a fee according to their level of environmental compliance. For instance, if they are driving a Hummer, they should pay $126.68. On the other hand, Tesla drivers will be charged $1.22.
Traffic Impact Fees – I have not figured this one out yet, but there must be a way to charge each non-resident car that enters East Hampton some type of fee for contributing to the outlandish traffic that occurs each summer.
Noise Abatement Fines – The existing East Hampton noise laws are archaic and seldom enforced. Law enforcement needs a new set of regulations that allows for fines, based solely on officer assessment, up to $5,000 per occurrence, for screaming, yelling or high-pitched talking by non-residents. (Area local Jerry Seinfeld may also suggest a fine for low-talkers.)
Low Tippers – East Hampton should regulate tipping from non-residents. Each and every establishment should be allowed to add a 40% gratuity for every non-resident bill. If a patron refuses to pay, the violator should be required to provide 10 hours of community service for each occurrence.
Light Bulbs – East Hampton should immediately replace all town lightbulbs with energy saving 20-watt lightbulbs. This will save a significant amount of money. In the case of public offices with limited window sunlight, flashlights should be provided.
Solar Power – Obviously we need to hold meetings on this subject, but it is reasonable to think that if we harness some of the sun’s rays without taking away from what is needed by summer sun bathers, East Hampton can save some money.
Town Meeting Wind Power – If you have ever attended an East Hampton Town meeting, you know they generate a lot of useless wind. If this wind could be harnessed, the Town could potentially increase efficiency.
Local Wine Tax – To me, this is the most important of all the measures proposed. With regards to wine production; there is only a limited number of available acres of land, entrepreneurs willing to take the risk and actual wineries in the Hamptons. Thus, when the summer tourists visit East Hampton each year and discover what locals already know: Local wines are exceptional on all levels,” I propose a tax of 1,000%, if they want to partake.
If these measures are enacted, the summer of 2016 can be the best ever. And residents of East Hampton can be comfortable in the knowledge that they are being represented in a most responsible way.
Note: Next week I will be offering ways that Southampton can accomplish similar goals, including reducing methane gas emissions, by quashing the overpopulation of raccoons.