State STAR Changes Impact Southampton

Recent state changes to the School Tax Relief program could impact Southampton Town residents’ 2019 tax bill.

Southampton Town Sole Assessor Lisa Goree is advising taxpayers to be sure they have enrolled in the correct program before proceeding. Due to changes in the law that went into effect this year, the value of the STAR credit may increase as much as two percent each year, but the STAR exemption cannot increase. Also, the income limit for the basic STAR exception is now $250,000. If a resident’s income is more than this, he or she must switch to the STAR credit to continue receiving benefits. The exemption will no longer be on a resident’s tax bill. If a resident’s income is $250,000 or less, he or she has the option to switch.

The assessor must be notified of wishes to withdraw if a resident is looking to switch to the STAR credit. Contact the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance at 518-457-2036 or Any questions regarding the STAR changes could also be answered by the town’s Assessor’s Office at 631-283-6020.

LEDs Already Saving Town Thousands

The LED street lighting switchover, of which Southampton Town was one of the first communities in the state to do, is already saving energy and reducing greenhouse gases. It’s also estimating to save the town nearly $270,000 a year.

“We are proud to have been one of the first communities in New York State to implement LED Lighting,” said Parks Director Kristen Doulos. “These are real cost savings and tangible results to protect our environment.”

The announcement comes as the town gets ready to celebrate Earth Day with a festival at Good Ground Park, that the conversion of 2580 street lights is saving 1,066,977 kWh annually, which according to the New York Power Authority, is the equivalent of taking 160 cars off the road. There is an energy cost savings of $168,369.81, plus an additional $100,000 in maintenance.

The total one-time cost of the project excluding replacement bulbs came in at $1,922.538.51, which was financed by NYPA during construction. The monthly savings is greater than the monthly loan payments. With these savings, the project will payback in just over seven years.

Earth Day Event Rescheduled

Due to the potential of rain, Southampton Town officials announced the postponement of the Good Ground Park Earth Day Celebration to May 18 from 11 AM to 3 PM at the park on Squiretown Road in Hampton Bays. There is a new rain date also slated for May 19.

Festivities begin with a tree dedication at 11 AM, and a Southampton Trails Preservation Society and Eastern Long Island Audubon Society walk at 11:30.

There is an official kickoff to the event slated for 12:30 PM, followed by a composting and master gardener class, yoga for adults and children, a lawn fertilizer demo, and a ukulele ensemble. There will be a scavenger hunt and prizes, and cordless leaf blower raffle. Student volunteers can earn community service credits for help with the event.

Borderline’ Film Screening

There will be a free screening of “Borderline,” the only documentary about someone living with borderline personality disorder, on Sunday, May 19, in the Stony Brook Southampton Hospital Parrish Hall, on the corner of Herrick Road and Lewis Street, at 2 PM.

The showing on the corner of Herrick Road and Lewis Street is made possible by the East End Mental Health Awareness Initiative.

“‘Borderline’ started when I got out of treatment,” said Rebbie Ratner, the film’s director and producer, who was given a BPD diagnosis in 2011. “My greatest accomplishment has been that I am walking both through and out of this borderline experience. If I chose to tell no one, I would be contributing to the culture of silence that prevented me from finding help for so long. BPD is a hidden diagnosis, more common than widely considered. The film is my opportunity to share perspectives on the borderline experience, pull it out of the closet, and in so doing, possibly encourage those who feel silenced in their experience to seek support.”

Ratner will introduce the film, which follows Regina V., who is “outta work and outta love.” Witty and self-aware, she gives viewers access to her internal borderline world, making observations that are uncomfortable but astute, reacts on impulse, attacks, laughs, burns bridges, apologize, and remains dogged in her search for recovery. While human intimacy is what she needs most to recover, her symptoms threaten to destroy. She will answer questions following the viewing.

“What I explored in making this film is that the process of recovery is really the process of learning to live a relational life,” Ratner said. “Treatment requires close examination of intra and interpersonal interactions. The prescription for recovery demands a greater level of self and other-awareness, which in turn leads one toward a deeper humanity. We all could use a little more of this.”

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