Mayor: Greenport should stay in charge of boat anchorage field

The Greenport Village Board is expected to vote Feb. 22 to reject both bids it had received from private companies to take over the operation of the village’s Stirling Harbor mooring field.

Mayor David Nyce told board members Tuesday night he didn’t believe any of the bidders would provide better service than the village and that the revenues Greenport gets from the moorings would be substantially reduced if a private operator took over the job.

Wooden Boat Works–Hanff of Greenport and Thomas Loreto Jr. of Cutchogue submitted bids. Brewer Yacht Yard of Greenport also indicated interest in the job, but wanted a clarification from New York State on the village’s authority to operate the mooring field.

Mr. Nyce provided that information to the Village Board Tuesday night, saying that according to Richard Bennett of the state Department of State the village did have the authority to control its mooring field and could opt to contract with a private company. Village attorney Joseph Prokop supported the mayor’s assertion.

To manage the mooring field itself, officials have estimated that the village will have to spend about $100,000 to bring equipment up to par and more money each year for maintenance. Nonetheless, Mr. Nyce said the village takes in about $60,000 in revenue by operating the mooring field itself. That would drop to about $15,000 if any of the bidders or potential bidders took over, he said.

Still, Trustee Michael Osinski said he thought leasing the field to a private operator could save money and reduce the village’s potential liability.

Trustee George Hubbard Jr. pointed out that by managing the field the village avoids a middleman should there be any dispute with a mooring customer. He said he was concerned that someone with a mooring might trade up to a larger boat and still claim the right to the mooring, even though the larger craft could present problems for nearby boat owners.

“None really measured up to what we were looking for,” Mr. Nyce said after the meeting about the bids,

The brutal winter weather halted progress on the wastewater treatment plant upgrade that had been estimated to be completed by next September. Utilities chief Jack Naylor said the completion deadline could slip several weeks. At the same time, he said, the project is about 58 percent finished and he expects work to resume this week.

He expressed confidence that, despite tough economic times, the village wouldn’t lose any of the $4.1 million in stimulus money it was awarded by the federal government last year for the project.

“I have never been involved in a project where committed federal funding was removed,” Mr. Naylor said.

When will the village implement the state comptroller’s advice about seeking bids from professional consultants? That’s what Mr. Osinski wanted to know after Mr. Naylor recommended accepting an $8,000 bid from Genesys Engineering to review bids on electric plant upgrades.

The comptroller recommended that the village stop its practice of awarding jobs to consultants without seeking bids.

Mr. Naylor argued that Genesys, which has been integrally involved in the project from the outset, could review contractors’ bids more easily than a new consulting firm and estimated it would cost at least $10,000 for any other company to take the job. He also said that although Genesys originally bid $10,000 for the oversight job, he had gotten company officials to reduce the bid.

Also at issue for Mr. Osinski was a question of how much of the Genesys job had already been completed. That was unclear, but it appeared that some parts of what Genesys offered for its bid had been completed.

Mr. Nyce asked Mr. Naylor to request that Genesys principal Robert Braun reduce the bid price further, to no more than $7,000. If that happens, he said, he would put a resolution on the Feb. 22 agenda to approve Genesys to handle bid oversight.

Village Board members will take a look at a proposal for a water taxi that Mr. Nyce said would link Greenport, Riverhead, Southampton and Sag Harbor. Mr. Osinski said he wanted to see to see the service run to Shelter Island to compete with North Ferry service. Greenport earns nothing from allowing North Ferry to dock in Greenport and Mr. Osinski suggested that a deal could be struck with the unidentified water taxi operator that could benefit the village.

If there’s interest among board members in exploring the idea, Mr. Nyce said he would arrange a public meeting to further discuss the service.

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