06/03/15 7:54pm
06/03/2015 7:54 PM
Notes taken at a Greenport Village Board meeting Wednesday afternoon detail the money brought in by the village for the Tall Ships festival. (Credits: Paul Squire)

Notes taken at a Greenport Village Board meeting Wednesday afternoon detail the money brought in by the village for the Tall Ships festival. (Credits: Paul Squire)

A second attempt to make payments for the Greenport Tall Ships event Wednesday afternoon went smoother this time around than last week — though not exactly smoothly. (more…)

04/24/15 1:45pm
04/24/2015 1:45 PM
From left, Greenport Village Trustee Doug Roberts, Trustee Julia

From left, Greenport Village Trustee Doug Roberts, Trustee Julia Robins and Mayor George Hubbard at Thursday’s meeting. (Credit: Jen Nuzzo)

As Greenport Village officials continue talks about cutting their own healthcare benefits provided through the village, the board’s two newest trustees have officially requested to end the practice sooner rather than later.

During Thursday’s Village Board meeting, Trustee Doug Roberts and deputy mayor Jack Martilotta sponsored two separate walk-on resolutions. One would have eliminated health benefits in nine months for board members and the second would have immediately set aside money otherwise used for their own benefits to pay for roadwork and infrastructure repair projects.

Both measures failed by a 3-2 vote without discussion, with Mayor George Hubbard, Trustee Mary Bess Phillips and Trustee Julia Robins voting in opposition.

(more…)

04/12/15 11:00am
04/12/2015 11:00 AM
Greenport Village Trustee Doug Roberts (from left), deputy mayor Jack Martilotta and Mayor George Hubbard get down to business after being sworn in during Monday evening's reorganizational meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Greenport Village Trustee Doug Roberts (from left), deputy mayor Jack Martilotta and Mayor George Hubbard get down to business after being sworn in during Monday evening’s reorganizational meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

With the swearing-in of a new mayor and two new trustees in Greenport this week, the time is right for village government to establish a clean slate with its residents.

To do so, the board should take steps to invite the public back into the fold and, in turn, decrease the confrontational atmosphere that has persisted in the village. If board members and residents can learn to trust one another, and put some pettiness aside, great things could be in store for Greenport.  (more…)

03/12/15 5:00am
03/12/2015 5:00 AM

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While speaking to a group of elementary school students at Floyd Memorial Library in October 2011, Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said he might not run for re-election when his second term expired in March 2015.

“My feeling now is no,” Mr. Nyce told a student. He acknowledged that 3 1/2 years was a long time away, but said he felt that if he hadn’t been able to accomplish his goals in eight years in office, it would be time for someone else to take the helm.

That time is now.  (more…)

02/25/15 2:00pm
02/25/2015 2:00 PM
(L-R) Candidates at the Meet the Candidates night in East Marion Tuesday evening. (Credit: Paul Squire)

(L-R) Candidates William Swiskey, Doug Roberts, Zuleyha (Julie) Lillis, George Hubbard and David Muarry at the Meet the Candidates night in East Marion Tuesday evening. Not pictured is Village Trustee candidate Jack Martilotta, who was away on duty with the National Guard at the time of the event.(Credit: Paul Squire)

The North Fork Chamber of Commerce’s Meet the Candidates night Tuesday evening marked the first opportunity for the Greenport Village mayoral and trustee candidates to make their pitches in the same room. All the candidates were there except resident Jack Martilotta a trustee candidate who was on duty with the National Guard at the time of the event.

Though not a debate, the candidates answered questions on issues posed to them from the audience at Hellenic Snack Bar in East Marion — from shoveling snow and keeping the popular ice skating rink open to civility and openness by the Village Board and the future of Mitchell Park.  (more…)

01/29/15 10:00am
01/29/2015 10:00 AM
Greenport Fire Chief Harry Breese (right) addresses the Village Board at Wednesday night's meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

Greenport Fire Chief Harry Breese (right) addresses the Village Board at Wednesday night’s meeting. (Credit: Paul Squire)

As a corner of the roof at the Greenport firehouse on Third Street began to leak Wednesday night, Fire Chief Harry Breese pitched three “ball park” ideas to the Greenport Village board on how to fix the building.

But for Mr. Breese and his fellow firefighters, one of the three seemed to make the most sense: tear down the old firehouse and build a new one in its place at the same location for roughly $7.1 million.

Wednesday night’s meeting was the result of an October discussion between the Fire Chief and the Village Board about how to repair the aging building, as well as months of work by the Melville-based engineering firm H2M.

Mr. Breese mentioned the leaking roof, inadequate space for firefighters and frequent termite infestations as problems that have plagued the current firehouse.

He described the other two options presented — a $1.9 million upgrade package or a $3.8 million addition — as being “band-aids” on the bigger problem of having a lasting firehouse.

“Eventually this place is going to be have to torn down,” he said. “We’re looking 20, 30 years down the road.”

The Fire Department came before the board to show all three proposals before exploring any further.

Since the Fire Department’s budget is included in the village’s annual budget, it would need Village Board approval. The Fire Department would have to cover the debt taken to finish the project by taking money out of its budget, village officials said.

Deputy Mayor and Village Trustee George Hubbard Jr, who led the meeting in Mayor David Nyce’s absence, said mistakes made decades ago have led to the current problems at the firehouse.

When the current firehouse was built, the remains of the old structure were thrown into the ground and buried instead of being properly disposed of, Mr. Hubbard said. That has made the termite problem difficult to solve, as the bugs crawl up from the remains.

Mr. Hubbard said that though the building is aging, the increase in village taxes needed to support the project would be staggering.

“We could easily double village taxes in one year,” he said. “That could be very difficult to sell to the public.”

The overall cost of the project, taking into account construction, engineering costs and debt payments, could reach about $13 million, according to Village Treasurer Robert Brandt Jr.

Mr. Brandt said the fire department was currently paying off $150,000 per year related to a previous purchase of two new pumper trucks. That debt service will expire in 2017, he said.

Mr. Hubbard suggested the firefighters look into grant funding to cover most of the cost.

Village Trustee Mary Bess Phillips also suggested speaking to legislators, telling the fire department to “be creative.” Both she and Mr. Hubbard said the board would be willing to work with the firefighters once they come back with a concrete proposal to replace the firehouse.

“We need to know what you want to do … and then it has to be a cooperated effort between all of us,” Ms. Phillips said.

“Is the general consensus that you guys want a new building?” asked Village Trustee David Murray.

Board of Wardens member Joe Barszczewski said the consultant engineers’ reports show it would be more expensive to constantly make repairs to the current building than to simply start over.

“In the long run it’s more economical to go with a new building than to try to fix the ills that are here right now,” he said. “I don’t think it started out as let’s knock [it down] … It looks like it’s the better way to go.”

After the firefighters left, the board’s regular meeting continued. But the meeting was briefly delayed, after the constant patter of water hitting a plastic bag under one of the roof’s leaks became too distracting.

As Village Administrator Paul Pallas adjusted the jury-rigged solution to catch the melting snow, Mr. Hubbard smiled.

“Do [the firefighters] need a new building?” he joked. “I think they did that on purpose. It’s a setup.”

“They’re out there with the hose right now,” Mr. Murray quipped.

Correction: This headline previously incorrectly stated that the price tag for the new firehouse would be $7.8 million, not $7.1 million. We regret the error.

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01/05/15 11:24am
01/05/2015 11:24 AM
Greenport coach Jack Martilotta is running for Village Board trustee. (Credit: file photo)

Greenport coach Jack Martilotta is running for Village Board trustee. (Credit: file photo)

Another hopeful is vying for a spot on the Village Board in the upcoming March elections, ensuring the races for two trustee seats will be contested.

Jack Martilotta, a science teacher and football coach in Greenport, said he is running to help improve the village’s infrastructure and to do his part to keep the community vibrant.

(more…)