Cost overruns of over $120,000 for the new ballfields at Enterprise Park at Calverton have at least one Riverhead town board candidate seeing red.
Anthony Coates, a reform Republican candidate who is running for a seat on the Riverhead town board in the next election, blasted the board for the overruns.
The ballfields, Riverhead Town Supervisor Sean Walter said, are running approximately $120,000 over the proposed $350,000 contract.
"And the meter is still running," Coates said. "You have to shake your head and marvel at how such a monumental error could occur. Once again taxpayers are going to get socked with a tax increase because of the financial incompetence of the Riverhead Town Board."
Coates also asked why the ballfields will not be open in time for the coming baseball season.
Walter said he learned through Deputy Supervisor Jill Lewis recently that there had been cost overruns due to the sprinkler system at the ballfields.
Walter said it was "very surprising" that the town board had not been apprised of the cost overruns or asked to vote on the increases. Walter said the overruns were "significant."
Riverhead Town Councilman George Gabrielsen said the costs arose when the irrigation system was being installed and it was discovered that broken lines needed repair and other issues surfaced.
Gabrielsen said "everyone was aware six months ago" that there would be overruns but emphasized that the funds utlized were monies that had been allocated for such an occurrence in the town's recreation fund; approximately $200,000 was set aside for that purpose.
The amount of the overrage was "surprising," Gabrielsen said; he said the only "wrinkle" is that Walter felt someone from engineering or the town's recreation department should have notified the town board of the spiked costs.
But, the bottom line, Gabrielsen said, remains: "This is not taxpayer dollars." He said the funding was in the recreation fund and the taxpayer would feel no impact. "This is much ado about nothing," Gabrielsen said.
The ballfields, he added, still need some new signage -- some fields are being named for veterans -- and are expected to open by late April or the first week of May.