If you’re bound for Block Island aboard the Peconic Express, fear not. It’s still running and village officials anticipate it will continue.
But its lease for dock space is in the hands of Suffolk County, which built the dock from which the boat departs and returns, Mayor David Nyce told the Village Board at its Monday night work session.
Recently, the mayor argued that the county had a right to review the boat’s lease under the terms of the village’s own lease to operate the county dock and he referred the case to the county.
Responding Monday night to criticism from Trustee Chris Kempner about hassling a local business, the mayor said it was never his intent to shut the operation down. He simply wanted to comply with the agreement Greenport has with the county requiring that it review any new leases or subleases, he said.
“My reading of the sublease agreement — I don’t see how they could shut them down,” the mayor said about pending county review.
“I’m just trying to assure that we’re not trying to stop any business in the village,” Ms. Kempner responded.
WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE?
Resident John Winkler told Village Board members he was concerned about whether the wastewater treatment plant project was falling behind schedule. On a recent visit to the plant, he said, he found no workers. When he confronted utilities director Jack Naylor, he said Mr. Naylor told him he couldn’t require contractors to be on site every day.
Mr. Naylor told the board last month that the project was three months behind schedule, mostly due to inclement weather. But he said plans were in the works to make up for the lost time.
Trustees Michael Osinski and Mary Bess Phillips also said they had been at the site and saw no work being done. Ms. Phillips told Mr. Naylor Monday night that she wanted a work schedule more detailed than the existing one.
Village officials should be able to know what’s scheduled to happen day-by-day, Mr. Winkler said.
Mr. Naylor had left the meeting by the time Mr. Winkler spoke and he didn’t return a call for further comment.
Meanwhile, a $40,000 plan to fix a leak in the berm between two lagoon areas was changed by the contractor without Village Board approval. Board member and utilities chief Bill Swiskey complained at the meeting that no board resolution was passed approving the change.
The plan was to spend the money for acrylics that would stop the seepage from one lagoon to the other. Instead, the contractor determined it would be too costly to totally line the berm and unnecessary because the seepage had proven to be minor. Mayor Nyce defended the change, saying it would keep the project within the $40,000 figure and maybe less.
Fast-tracked? Tell that to Second Street neighbors who have been complaining about a burned-out hulk of a house at 620 Second St.
North Fork Housing Authority has been bogged down in red tape with state agencies in its efforts to reconstruct the house and rebuild a second house at 618 Second St., both of which caught fire in August 2008.
NFHA director Tanya Palmore sent a letter to the Village Board announcing that a building permit for the 618 Second St. construction is anticipated any day while the NFHA is fast-tracking the application for renovations of the house at 620 Second St.
The Village Board wants the Historic Preservation Commission to document its reasons for a request to bring the entire one square mile of Greenport into the historic district. The request came from HPC chairman David Murray earlier this month.
Currently, some buildings are in the district while others, often on the same streets, are not. And most of the downtown business area lies outside the historic district, even though projects there are frequently referred to the HPC by the Planning Board.
Once the Village Board has information from the HPC, it will schedule a public hearing.
But Mr. Swiskey wasn’t waiting for the public hearing, weighing in at Monday night’s meeting with the assertion that the proposal is something no one wants.
Such a move could result in “tremendous cost” to young homeowners who live in Greenport, but can’t afford to follow HPC guidelines for renovations to their property, Mr. Swiskey said.
BANKING CHANGES OVERDUE
On the advice of treasurer Charlene Kagel, the Village Board is expected to move its operating accounts from Capital One to Bridgehampton National Bank. It’s not the first time a village treasurer has made that recommendation. Former treasurer Susan Pisano suggested the same action earlier in the year.
Ms. Kagel told Village Board members she is impressed with BNB’s customer service and noted that she had received a call recently from Capital One asking if the village wanted to roll over a CD at zero percent interest.
Hopefully, the change will happen before another CD is due for a rollover, Ms. Kagel said.
WHAT’S WITH THE WEB?
If you’ve logged on to Greenport Village’s official website, thevillageofgreenport.org, you’re aware that it continues to have major limitations. Some links don’t work while others provide only scanty information. There are no Village Board agendas posted, nor is the village providing reports from department heads or other vital information of interest to constituents.
That’s why Ms. Phillips told village clerk Sylvia Lazzari Pirillo Monday night that she thinks it’s time to invest in a webmaster who can bring the site up to date and maintain it.
In its effort to save money, the village hired a company to create the site, but tried using staff members to maintain it. The result is a website that’s “a little bit behind the times,” Ms. Phillips said.
Since the old schoolhouse on Front Street opposite First Street is open to visitors on weekends, volunteers have been stopping by to offer free services to finish work on the building. Mr. Nyce and other carpenters have offered to volunteer their time completing the inside of the old building and an unidentified electrician last week offered his service to complete electrical work.