Christmas came a little early for Vince Taldone, the vice president of the Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Civic Association.
At FRNCA's holiday party Monday night at the David W. Crohan Community Center in Flanders, Taldone said Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst shared some news "that matters greatly to FRNCA."
The supervisor, he said, is planning to create a blight mitigation fund that would be used to pay for clean-ups of town-owned properties and rights of way.
The fund, Taldone said, would be used to collect a portion of revenue from justice court fines for code enforcement and other violations.
"The town will build a little nest egg to use when jurisdiction and budget issues get in the way of resolving local dumping and related problems," Taldone said.
In recent months, Taldone said he "complained bitterly" because of dumping on a town-owned lot that was not cleaned, he said, because the parcel was on a private road; budget concerns were an issue, he said.
"So the garbage sits month after month on town property," he said. "It has been a very difficult issue to resolve and dumped garbage and other unwanted material is a real blight on our three hamlets."
Throne-Holst said Tuesday she proposed the blight mitigation fund as a pro-active step to address and mitigate chronic blight in areas of town that need it most.
"While the highway department tries to alleviate most of those needs, the town is currently not equipped to deal with ongoing clean-up and unsightly debris management at all times and when needed," she said.
The fund, which is predicated on a negligible, but for the effort, Throne-Holst said, significant, portion of justice court fees — up to 1 percent — as well as newly devised civil fines and penalties to be levied on predominantly repeat code violators, will help to fund the effort.
She added that the fund would give the town board the "tools and the funding to directly address these complaints — while also providing the incentive for the court to levy fines and penalties."
Taldone applauded the initiative. "I am thrilled to see that the town is taking this step to begin to address this type of issue which effects the FRNCA hamlets particularly hard, though I am sure other communities in the town also face such problems from time to time."
The supervisor said the hope is that the fund will prove to be an important step toward directly and effectively addressing quality of life complaints. "And it will give pertinent areas of town a facelift where most needed -- in turn, promoting economic development and enhancing property values."
Taldone said it was the perfect news for a holiday party. "This is going to be the very best Christmas present that I could possibly receive," he said. "I'm still smiling. Maybe Santa finally noticed that I was, in fact, good all year."