PORT JEFFERSON — Port Jefferson Council voted unanimously to enter into a new five-year contract with Rumpke Inc. for village trash collecting services. The contract begins Jan. 1, 2018, and ends Dec. 31, 2022.
The rates will increase to $16.43 per month in January ($15.35 for seniors) and end at $18.93 ($17.85 for seniors) in 2022. Councilman David Clem noted Rumpke has provided consistent service and performed well over the years and that he felt that they should continue with Rumpke.
“They have always done a nice job and we are getting a better deal going with a five year contract as opposed to going year by year, they provide good service so I recommend we stay with them,” said Clem.
Rumpke not only agrees to pick up trash but also yard waste and appliances as long as the appliances like refrigerators and freezers have no gas in the compressors. Tony Schwendeman a representative for Rumpke was in attendance to answer questions if needed but was unsure what age someone needs to be to qualify as a senior.
“I’ll have to check on that and get back with you later, I don’t want to provide the wrong information” he said.
Schwendeman also noted large garbage cans with wheels were available for an extra $2.50 per month.
In other business Brian Jones, pastor of a local church that has yet to be named requested the village temporarily rent the village community hall for church services until such a time an alternative meeting place could be found. Council discussed the situation and agreed to rent the hall on the condition the church only use the building from 10 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. on Sundays and that they clean up after each service.
Mayor Steve Butterfield said he was comfortable with Jones and jokingly noted, “Hey if you can’t trust the preacher, who can you trust!”
All council members seemed to be in agreement with council member Joan Mader who said, “Well we know they will be good renters and we should give them a reduced rate seeing they will only be using the building for a few hours each Sunday.”
Council members Sharon Whitehead, Krystal Cox, Loretta Cook, Hazel Reeves and Clem all spoke favorably in agreement with the idea of a reduced rate. Council then voted to set the rental cost at $150 per month at least for the time being.
Attorney Keith M. Schnelle representing the Port Jefferson Fire Department, asked about moving ahead with the department’s intent to purchase a lot owned by the village for the purpose of building a new fire station.
“This topic has been discussed for quite some time and we are ready to move onward with the project; what do we need to do to move ahead?” Schnelle asked.
“The village has offered to sell the property, the ball is in your court,” said Butterfield. “We agreed to sell the lot for $22,000.00 plus you also pay for any other legal fees associated with the sale, so now it’s up to you.”
Butterfield then recommend Schnelle draw up a contract for consideration by council and that they would go from there; Schnelle agreed saying he would move on the issue right away.
Next council heard a report from Mader concerning the legal designation of a roadway that runs the length of the south side of the village currently labeled as Canal Street and what could be done to address concerns of several residents about people running stop signs and excess speeding on that street.
“Technically the street is really an alley,” she said. “At 16 ½ feet, or one rod wide, it does not meet the width requirement for a street which is 24 feet The speed limit for an alley is 15 mph and the current signage indicates it is 20 mph.”
Residents Ed and Rosa Lee Patterson who live on Canal Street spoke up saying the speed limits and lack of compliance with stop signs make for a dangerous situation and create a potential hazard for pedestrians or people working in their lawns as well as children who play near the roadway.
“You don’t realize how people fly through there, and a lot of them live right here in town; they seldom if ever stop and drive way over the speed limit” said Rosa Lee.
Her husband Ed agreed saying, “Kids don’t always look for traffic while playing around here, and if one of them happens to run out in front of a car or truck driving 30 t0 40 miles per hour they aren’t going to have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving; all we’re asking is that council take measures to reduce the speed of traffic and enforce the law concerning those who ignore the stop signs.”
Other residents, some of them council members agreed, noting that not all but a lot of people seldom stop and drive way over the speed limit and that the problem is magnified when two cars meet and pass each other putting them in someone’s yard.
Mader said this has been a long-running issue.
“People are going to drive however fast they want to go, they won’t pay any attention to a sign regardless of what it says; but, technically the signs should read 15 mph since it is really an alley,” she said.
After everyone was given a chance to share their opinion including council members, and it was determined that regardless of the name applied to the road it would still fall under the jurisdiction of state law concerning the speed limit for allies which is 15 mph. Clem then spoke recommending the speed limit be reduced and the appropriate signage installed.
“There is an easy way to fix this, all we need to do is come up with an ordinance that sets the speed limit, and put up the right signs, and enforce the law,” said Butterfield.
Council then agreed to table the issue until the village solicitor could draw up an ordinance and present it to council at the next meeting in December. When asked what could be done in the meantime, the mayor said he would step up the police patrol time as here was still money in the budget for increased patrolling before the year runs out.
Lastly council awarded the contract for work on Spring Street and Wall Street to be awarded to Dave Nagle who came in with the lowest bid to do the work at $131,432. Butterfield said 90 percent of the project would be covered by grant money with the remainder to be provided by the village; work on the streets will begin in the spring of 2018.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.