Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar Delivers Annual State of the Town Address at the Tri-Club Meeting of Riverhead Lions, Kiwanis, and Rotary Clubs at the Atlantis Sea Star Ballroom
Aguiar sees Bright Future for Riverhead and its Residents/Envisioning the Future of Riverhead
On June 29, Supervisor Yvette Aguiar delivered the Annual State of the Town address at the Sea Star Ballroom in downtown Riverhead before members of the Riverhead Rotary, the Riverhead Lions and the Riverhead Kiwanis clubs, as well as community leaders and residents. The speech emphasized the many accomplishments of the administration and the Riverhead Town Board, including fiscal health, public health, public safety, economic development, senior services, and open space/farmland preservation. The theme of the State of the Town was “Envisioning the Future of Riverhead.”
Aguiar said she was proud to deliver the first budget in more than 20 years, which did not increase property taxes. In addition, Moody’s Investor Services Inc. provided another sign of Riverhead’s fiscal strength and stability when they increased Riverhead’s bond rating from Aa3 to Aa2, the third-highest rating.
The Supervisor also said her administration continues to take measures to protect and maintain Riverhead’s water infrastructure. She said the Town Board has “committed and invested funds to protect our residents in Manorville and east of EPCAL, some of whom are threatened with contaminated water.” The Town was recently awarded a $3.5 million federal grant, thanks to our Senators and Congressman. In order to provide public water to the 64 homes in Riverhead Town, as quickly as possible, the Town of Riverhead and the Suffolk County Water Authority (SCWA) have agreed to establish a memorandum of understanding to work together.
Aguiar declared, “Public safety is without a doubt one of the top concerns of this administration.” She stated 19 police officers were hired, primarily due to attrition. Furthermore, “the intention of the Town Board is to increase the police personnel each year.” She said the Riverhead Town Law Enforcement Advisory Panel (Riverhead LEAP) worked collaboratively with the community to examine current policies and procedures of the Riverhead Town Police Department and its relationship with the people they serve. LEAP was formed in October 2020 and included community groups, clergy, business owners, and activist groups in the community. “The goal was to obtain input from the entire community and to create a consensus on the future of policing in our town,” she said. The Supervisor said the town has agreed to fund body cameras and the 2022 operating budget includes funds to begin the process.
Aguiar credited the hard work of town employees, including Code Enforcement Division, which investigated 844 and issued summonses for 1,191 violations.
Aguiar expressed optimism for the economic development potential of Downtown Riverhead. Discussing the progress of Riverhead Town Square, she said the Town closed on the purchase of three blighted properties on East Main Street, opposite from the Suffolk Theater just over a year ago and demolished two of the blighted buildings to make way for the future Riverhead Town Square in October. “This bold action resulted in the state awarding a $10 million grant to revitalize our downtown, said Aguiar. From the town’s perspective,” two of the most important projects slated to substantially impact the future of downtown are the Riverhead Town Square and the Transit Oriented development project. “Downtown Riverhead is truly in the midst of a transformative and reimagining stage,” said Aguiar.
Regarding the redevelopment of EPCAL, the supervisor said, the Town Board took a significant step this year to advance the sale of Calverton Enterprise Park by agreeing to file application with Calverton Aviation Technology (CAT) to the Riverhead Industrial Development Agency (IDA) to expedite the sale of approximately 1,643 acres of property at EPCAL. The 1,000-plus acres of environmentally sensitive land will be preserved forever. Further, “this landmark action by the Town Board allows the sale to advance prior to the completion of subdivision.” The transfer of title to the IDA will allow much greater local control of the redevelopment process and require CAT to take continuous and immediate action to ensure its financial wherewithal. If we are successful, this property will result in millions of dollars to the taxing districts within the Town of Riverhead—the town, the school district, ambulance, and fire district.
“It is my intention to recommend to the Town Board to utilize $10 to recommend to the Town Board we utilize $10 million for property tax relief to our residents and further enhance our police force.”
Regarding planning, Aguiar said the Town is moving forward to vet a new company to complete our update to the Comprehensive Plan, a 20-year planning road map and vision for the future of Riverhead.
Other accomplishments cited in the speech included: utilizing grant funding to purchase senior buses, park improvements, improvements to the sewer district, land preservation efforts and the return of drag racing to eastern Long Island.
She further said, “The entire community is extremely excited to move forward with the prospect of bringing ice hockey to Riverhead. We are working with the Peconic Ice Hockey Foundation to create a memorandum of Agreement to move forward. We anticipate Hockey in Riverhead in the late summer.”
Towards the end of the upbeat address, Aguiar said, “Diligent work and planning efforts have created a new chapter in our Town. We are most certainly in the midst of revitalizing our town. I am excited about the prospects of Riverhead’s future, and I am committed to working tirelessly, to make our goals a reality. Our residents deserve nothing less,” said Aguiar.
Further, “diligent work and planning efforts have created an exciting chapter in our Town. We are most certainly in the midst of revitalizing our Town. I am excited about the prospects of Riverheads future, and we are committed to working tirelessly, to make our mutual goals a reality. Our residents deserve nothing less,” said Aguiar.
“We will focus our efforts to ensure all our businesses and most importantly our residents continue to thrive, flourish, and prosper,” said Aguiar. She ended the address by thanking everyone and stating, “We are proud of the spirit and resilience of our community.”
A full copy of the State of the Town can be downloaded here.