Utilities chief fields a challenge

07/15/2010 12:00 AM |

Utilities chief Jack Naylor and the man he succeeded in the job clashed at the Village Board’s June 28 meeting over the need for an emergency allocation for batteries at the light plant.

Mr. Naylor won approval for an emergency allocation of up to $11,000 for possible replacement of Exide batteries. But not before former utilities chief Bill Swiskey questioned the expenditure.

“The whole utility structure is really at risk,” Mr. Swiskey said, not for the first time challenging Mr. Naylor’s handling of the job.

This time, the issue was the life of the batteries — seven years, according to Mr. Naylor; 20 years, according to Mr. Swiskey.

Mr. Naylor said a routine inspection of a substation cubicle revealed a problem and that a charger had to be replaced. Once it’s replaced, if the batteries recharge, the cost will be limited to about $1,700. But if new batteries are still needed, the price would be closer to the $11,000 figure.


To keep work progressing smoothly on the village’s more than $8 million wastewater treatment project, Village Board members gave Mr. Naylor permission to approve some change orders without their review. But such permission would apply only to change orders that would result in a 20-day or less delay in progress on the project, and no effect on cost.

For changes that would affect cost, Mr. Naylor can act without board review in the case of general contracting fees only if the added expense would amount to no more than one quarter of one percent of the original amount of the fees; and in the case of electrical costs, one half of one percent of the electrical contractor’s fees. In either case, no increase can exceed$10,000, and all such changes, cumulatively, would be limited to the amount of contingency funds available for the project.

The board would have to be notified of any such change orders within 24 hours.

What appeared to be a routine resolution requiring that village attorney Joseph Prokop be copied on all correspondence relating to the wastewater treatment plant project got derailed, at least for the moment. The trustees wanted to determine what it would cost for him to review the correspondence,given that he works on an hourly basis, Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said. She pointed out that there are several other layers of review of the project.


Former trustee David Corwin received a proclamation from board members for his work in securing an interest-free loan for the wastewater treatment plant project and then working with Mayor David Nyce to get more than $4 million in federal stimulus funds for the project.


In a special June 30 meeting, Village Board approved payment of $4,825 to the Greenport Softball Leagues for fence repairs the group authorized at the Moore’s Lane field. But the payment came with an admonishment that similar expenditures will not be reimbursed unless they are pre-approved by the Village Board.

Two years ago, league members authorized work at the softball field without clearing it with the board. That bill was paid but they were told that procedure required advance approval. But again this year, the same situation occurred.

Despite the urging of Mr. Nyce, board members balked at approving the latest reimbursement during their June 28 meeting. Trustees Michael Osinski and Mary Bess Phillips said that night they thought it wrong for taxpayers to have to pick up the bill when their elected representatives weren’t told about the repairs until after the fact. At the same time, everyone agreed that the village should be responsible for upkeep of the fields and that the league pays for use of the site and has helped to maintain it.

“This is a bump in the road; they screwed up,” Mr. Nyce said at the June 28 meeting, arguing for payment.

The resolution passed on June 30 stipulates that the leagues must comply with all pertinent rules and regulations of the village code.


The tall ship Halie and Matthew will be allowed to dock at the west pier of Mitchell Park Marina for the remainder of the season for a flat fee of $5,000. Owners and operators of the 118-foot boat, which provided relief efforts in Haiti following that country’s massive earthquake, want to make Greenport its home port, but needed relief from what could have been a hefty bill under the $1.30 per foot regular daily rate.

But Capt. Jared Talarski is offering discounted trips for locals and students and wants the ship to be used to help raise funds for various Greenport causes. It would also be another tourist attraction for the village, Mr. Nyce said.

Given that it will be occupying a part of the marina that’s seldom used, the $5,000 represents a plus for village coffers, the mayor said.

The only hesitation trustees had was that lowering the price for a boat that will operate as a charter could set a precedent for other charters. But board members decided June 30 to let this summer be a test, both for the boat owners to determine if they can make a financial go of it in Greenport and for the village to determine how much of an asset the boat will prove to be to the village.


Board members delayed action on a proposal to ban basement apartments because the resolution’s sponsor, Trustee Chris Kempner, was absent from the June 28 meeting. The resolution is slated for a vote at the July 26 meeting.


Villagers will get to weigh in on a proposal to enforce parking limits in the village at a hearing to held July 26. The village has signs posted that limit parking to two hours in some areas and 10 minutes in others, but there has been no enforcement. Before considering steps to provide more parking in the village, board members have been advised to more strictly enforce existing limits.

On another front, Mr. Prokop was authorized to develop a schedule of fines for failure to obey requirements for snow shoveling, brush pickup and property maintenance. The newly created village code committee was slated to discuss the recommendations at its July 7 meeting, after The Suffolk Times’ deadline.


A resolution that would have banned homeless individuals from staying at McCann’s Campground on Moore’s Lane got sidetracked after Mr. Corwin challenged it as discriminatory.

Despite village administrator David Abatelli’s concerns about problems with homeless people, most of whom have camped in tents, the board voted to limit tent campers to stays of not more than seven consecutive days with a minimum of 10 days between such stays. They eliminated the provision that would have required tent campers to provide proof of permanent legal residences.

Osinski getS permit

Trustee Osinski was granted a wetlands permit enabling him to install an 8 x 16-foot dock in the water outside his house at 307 Flint St. The trustee, of course, recused himself from the vote. There were no public comments at the June 28 hearing on the application.

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