Tall Ships report shows Greenport BID has raised $73K

KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | A long line to board one of the ships at this year's Tall Ships of America event.
KATHARINE SCHROEDER FILE PHOTO | Visitors wait to board one of the ships at the Tall Ships of America event in Greenport three years ago.

The Greenport Business Improvement District has raised nearly three quarters of its “ambitious” $100,000 sponsorship goal for the village’s Tall Ships event coming this July, a village board report shows.

According to the Tall Ships overview report posted to the village website, the BID has secured $73,500 in sponsorship deals as of Friday.

The report doesn’t list specifically which businesses had provided the sponsorships.

Greenport BID president Peter Clarke told The Suffolk Times last week that sponsorship information would remain private until a May 5 press conference to announce the event.

He declined to comment further at the time, referring other questions to the Village Board.

The Tall Ships event will cost an estimated $278,700, according to the board’s report. Of those expenses, $173,000 will cover the contracts for six tall ships themselves. A seventh ship may also arrive for the multi-day festival at no charge to the Village.

The next highest expense is a $40,000 advertising budget for TV spots, radio and print ads, according to the report.

The document comes in the midst of an at-times contentious debate over the Tall Ships festival’s financials. Since before the election, critics have demanded the village release information about how much is being spent on the Tall Ships festival and how much in sponsorships had already been raised.

Mr. Clarke and former mayor David Nyce were scheduled to present their progress on the festival’s funding to the board earlier this month, but neither showed up to the meeting.

Mr. Clarke said last week it wasn’t made clear that he had been invited to come speak.

Newly elected Mayor George Hubbard Jr. had promised the release of the Tall Ships report as part of an effort to make Village Hall more transparent, a campaign promise of his and the other two newest village trustees: deputy mayor Jack Martilotta and Doug Roberts.

“We’ve said since the election that we’re going to get the information out to the people… so people know what’s going on with the event,” Mr. Hubbard said.

Mr. Hubbard said the BID had already raised more in sponsorships than the last time the village hosted the Tall Ships festival in 2012, and added that if this year’s tickets are sold as fast as they were in 2012, the event will turn a profit.

Mr. Martilotta is a co-chair of the committee in charge of the event, and wrote in the report that “the event is a huge undertaking and everyone is making an impressive effort.”

Mr. Roberts, who among the Village Board was the most critical of the lack of information about the Tall Ships expenses, said he was pleased by the detail on the report.

“This is what the public was asking for in the election,” Mr. Roberts said. “Give all five of us credit for delivering what was a big issue in the campaign about this event.”

He had voted against increasing the event’s marketing budget at a meeting last week. Mr. Martilotta abstained from that vote.

But Mr. Roberts said he would continue to oppose approving more money for the event until the Greenport BID pays the village at least two-thirds of the $100,000 they promised to chip in for it.

“I know they’re working hard,” Mr. Roberts said. “They’re getting there, but I think the reason they’re getting there because of rumblings that the village isn’t a blank check.”

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