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Village can’t charge ferry fee on its own

The Greenport Village board finally got an answer to the question of whether it would be legal forthe village to charge a $1 per car “landing fee” to every car exiting the North Ferry into Greenport.

Mayor George Hubbard said that news was delivered in a conference call that he, village attorney Joe Prokop and village administrator Paul Pallas had with officials from the state comptrollers office last week.

The only way such a fee could be imposed would be if the county legislature, which regulates ferry fee increases, did so, or if the state legislature was to vote to create a special funding district to allow the landing fee, Mr. Hubbard said at Thursday’s village board meeting. 

The theory behind the proposal – which has been a regular topic at board meetings for the past two years – is that the ferry traffic takes its toll on village roads, and the village should be reimbursed for that.

In April, the village board sent a letter to North Fork County Legislator Al Krupski (D-Cutchogue) to take up the landing fee issue the next time North Ferry seeks a rate issue.

Their last rate increase was in 2014.

Mr. Pallas said the comptroller’s office cited two written opinions of the comptroller’s office as well as case law in justifying its recommendation.

Resident Bill Swiskey, who’s been calling for the landing fee for more than two years and who has asked about it at almost every village board meeting, said the village should ask for state legislation.

Stella Lagudis, the general manager for the Shelter Island Heights Property Owners Corporation, which owns North Ferry, told the Suffolk Times earlier this year that the proposal has come up many times in the past.

“I don’t know how you can apply that type of a surcharge to just one business in the village,” she said at the time.

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Photo Caption: [North Fork Ferry] (Credit: Times Review)