Town Board notes
ISLIP TOWN—Only two people spoke during the public portion of this month’s Islip Town Board meeting. The first speaker made a proposition regarding Long Island MacArthur Airport, while the second accused a councilmember of conflicting interests.
Islip resident Greg Pepe took issue with councilman John Cochrane’s personal involvement in the town’s Bay Bottom Leasing Program, which leases over 100 acres of town-owned property to local entrepreneurs for harvesting oysters, hard-shell clams and scallops. Once grown, the shellfish are marketed and sold to local restaurants and retail establishments, according to the town’s website.
Pepe, a regular speaker at Islip Town Board meetings, presented documents that show J.A. Cochrane & Son, LLC, a registered corporation with New York State Department of State, initially filed an application to lease town-owned parcels on Dec. 8, 2014.
“I feel that this is a conflict of interest, according to the town code law,” Pepe said, regarding the lease that runs from 2016-2021. “I can’t see why a paid councilman, earning a salary, is able to lease a parcel of underground water, owned by the Town of Islip, to enrich himself.”
Cochrane remained silent, but Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter said she “distinctly” remembers the councilman making a public presentation where he abstained himself from voting on the measure. “He has since divested himself [from] this [issue],” Carpenter said.
John DiCioccio, Islip Town’s attorney, backed up the supervisor’s comments. DiCioccio said that town officials had a board of ethics committee look into the issue prior to the agreement. “[The ethics committee] said it was okay,” he added.
Last month, Pepe voiced concerns about Cochrane serving as CEO of Long Island Electrical Inspectors Inc., a Bay Shore-based electrical company that performs electric inspections for certifications of occupancy on behalf of Islip Town.
This publication reported on Pepe’s comments in the article “Town board notes,” published on Jan. 17, 2019, where he referred to a New York State code of ethics that prohibits such an affiliation for elected officials.
Ed Libassi, president of A & P Aircraft Maintenance, asked the town board if he could rent a vacant hangar at Islip MacArthur Airport. “I don’t want to restore [the hangar] or knock it down. I don’t want to own the hangar door,” he told the board earlier this week. “I don’t want to do anything other than rent it on a monthly basis over a time period that we can all [agree on].”
Libassi made local headlines last year when it was reported that his family-owned business could be closing after 47 years if a plan to repurpose his hangar moves forward. Libassi has operated his business out of MacArthur Airport for nearly 20 years. His landlord previously told him they were planning to tear down his on-site hangar and use the location for another project, possibly a hotel.
The business owner had made a similar proposition to the town at least one other time, but was given a price that was more than he could afford, according to reports. Libassi tried to make the case earlier this week that the hanger he hopes to rent has been vacant since last spring, despite the electric running 24 hours a day. He went on to say that he is the only person looking to rent the 50-year-old building, and that by him renting the space at an agreeable price, it would be beneficial to both the town and himself.
Libassi is still operating his business at MacArthur on Smithtown Avenue, but doesn’t have a lease. The town reportedly told him that the airport would first need permission to tear down the hanger. The town also said, according to reports, a new project could take years to materialize.
After the public portion, the town board addressed a full agenda of resolutions.
Carpenter was authorized to terminate a lease agreement with Great Atlantic Shellfish Farm, LLC.
Carpenter was also authorized to enter into agreements with Islandia Animal Hospital and Faithful Friends Veterinary Services PC to provide NYS-licensed veterinary services to the Town of Islip Animal Shelter and Adopt-A-Pet on an “as needed” basis.
In addition, Islip Town was authorized to host drop-off sites and accept donations – pet food and other supplies – on behalf of Long Island Cares Inc.-Baxter’s Pet Pantry for their 2019 legislative pet food drive.
The supervisor was authorized to execute any documentation necessary to register and remove users on the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services Peace Officer Registry. She was also authorized to enter into an agreement with JVC Media LLC for the advertising concession within certain designated areas of MacArthur Airport.
In addition, Carpenter was authorized to enter into an agreement with Arcadis Inc. for ongoing environmental services at the public airport.
Town Clerk Olga Murray was also authorized to advertise for a public hearing regarding the lease with Martens Aerosport LLC for property at the Bayport Aerodrome.
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