Featured Story

No money for Greenport contest judges; live meeting broadcasts nixed for now

A proposal to pay 3 judges in a contest to paint the rounding boards on the Mitchell Park carousel failed

A proposal to pay three judges $150 apiece to judge a painting contest for the 14 rounding boards on the Mitchell Park carousel failed to get majority support from the Greenport Village Trustees Thursday.

Trustees Doug Roberts and Jack Martilotta opposed the measure, while Trustee Mary Bess Phillips and Mayor George Hubbard Jr. supported it. With Trustee Julia Robins absent, the vote was 2-2 and is officially considered to have failed.

Likewise, a proposal to authorize live, web-based broadcasts of all village board meetings, including Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and Trustee meetings and work sessions, failed by a 2-2 vote, only this time, Mr. Roberts and Mr. Martilotta supported the measure, while Mayor Hubbard and Ms. Phillips did not.

• Carousel judge payments shot down

The proposal to paint the rounding boards atop the 1920 Alan Herschel carousel — which was originally owned by Grumman in Calverton — dates back to 2014, as part of an overall plan to further restore the carousel.

Gail Horton, the chairperson of the village’s carousel committee, urged the village board to approve the one-time $150 stipend for judges John Wissman, Nancy Wissman-Woodbig and Brenda Miller.

The village would be reimbursed by the Friends of Mitchell Park via a grant to the village, the resolution states.

“I fully support giving the stipend to three artist chosen,” Ms. Horton said. “The artists chosen are well-educated in their field.”

She said the judges have taught in local schools and colleges and are noted throughout the Northeast.

“You are placing a big responsibility on them because it’s a contest and they will be doing the judging,” Mr. Horton said. “I feel we have highly qualified people who would get a small stipend for the time and responsibility of this, which is very worthwhile.”

Mr. Roberts and Mr. Martilotta both argued that the judges should be volunteers.

Mr. Roberts said the board denied a request to pay an event planner who had been volunteering last year, apparently referring his defeated plan to create a “Dances in the Park” coordinator and pay the employee $1,200.

“I would like to see people step up and volunteer to do this,” Mr. Roberts said. “It’s consistent with other decisions this board has made.”

At one point, Mr. Roberts suggested getting school children to judge the contest.

Ms. Phillips said she considers the judges to be consultants, and stressed that the cost is coming out of a Friends of Mitchell Park grant and not from village taxpayers.

“This project is at the point where it doesn’t move forward, they going to lose the grant completely from Friends of Mitchell Park,” Ms. Phillips said.

• Plan for live broadcasts on hold

The proposal to broadcast village meetings live on the internet resulted from a discussion about whether a village Zoning Board of Appeals member could attention meetings by video conferencing, such as by Skype, while he was in Florida for three months.

That plan didn’t seem to have board support at a work session discussion last week, so Mr. Roberts suggested a web-based live broadcast using a website like GoToMeeting.com as a means of increasing participation in village meetings.

But Mr. Roberts said Thursday that doing so would need about $2,000 in startup costs, such as buying a web camera and hardware, as well as Blue Tooth connections to microphones at the meeting.

Beyond that, the cost would to use GoToMeeting.com could cost $49 per month while capping viewership at 100 per event.

GoToMeeting.com, the company Mr. Roberts proposed,  also has a function that would allow people to type in questions or comments if the board wanted to do that, he said.

Village Clerk Sylvia Pirillo said another company, IQM2, offers unlimited streaming for $357 per month. The village would still need some additional equipment to make that work as well, she said.

IQM2 is used by Southold, Southampton, Brookhaven and East Hampton Towns for webcasts.

But Ms. Phillips said she didn’t have enough information about the total cost to support moving forward. She suggested holding off on the resolution and discussing it at a future work session once the numbers are available.

“There’s not enough information here,” she said.

Mr. Hubbard agreed.

Ms. Phillips also questioned whether the village would continue to do verbatim minutes of meetings if it’s going to have live video broadcasts, which also would be saved.

The vote resulted in a 2-2 split, which means it failed.

[email protected]