PORT JEFFERSON — Port Jefferson Council moved to initiate actions to resurface a portion of South Elm Street, and addressed safety concerns caused by car parking along Pasco-Montra Road, just south of state Route 47.
Andy Schuman, an engineer with Choice One Engineering of Sidney, shared an overview of proposed options to reconstruct South Elm Street, between state Route 47 and Canal Street, with council Monday evening.
Port Jefferson Mayor Steve Butterfield addressed council last fall about the need to temporarily patch some large potholes on the street until such a time when it could be repaired or replaced in 2019.
Schuman indicated there is a 66-foot right of way between the 47 Bar and Grill and the next residence to the west and he recommended widening the street when the reconstruction takes place, as it would provide more parking.
“Besides reconstructing and possibly widening the street, all the proposed estimates would cover putting in new storm water basins, and curbs as well, and making sure there is ample drainage to carry surface water runoff to the canal in times of heavy rain,” Schuman said.
Schuman estimated the approximate cost for the street would be around $107,000 and if it goes as planned grant funding will cover 90 percent of the cost.
The engineering fee for design and administration of the project will cost about $8,000 and will be covered by the village, as grant money is not available for that part of it.
Butterfield said his only concern was having a design that not only looks good and is functional but will cover the needs of handling the storm-water runoff in the future.
“I just want to make sure we have a drainage tile big enough to handle the heavy rains,” he said. “We don’t want any ‘do-overs’ or have to come back later and dig up and repair something that should have been done a certain way in the first place; there are times when we have a tremendous amount of water coming off the streets and we want to make sure it has some place to go.”
Schuman noted he would provide several options on the type of construction needed and it would be up to council to decide on what direction to go.
“We will put something together soon and get back with you so as to get the OPWC grant application in as soon as possible,” Schuman said.
Butterfield shared concerns about cars parked alongside a short section of Pasco-Montra Road, south of state Route 47.
“We have had a lot of wrecks at that intersection and some motorists involved in accidents there said they couldn’t see well when attempting to pull onto state Route 47,” he said. “We need to eliminate parking cars on the west side of the street to make sure people can see well when pulling out.”
Butterfield added that the village will put up no parking signs and all offenders will be towed, at their own expense, and will be ordered to pay a $100 fine for parking illegally.
In other new business, Butterfield said he talked to the village solicitor about overdue septic/sewer bills and what needs to be done. After a lengthy discussion, council agreed it is unfair for the village to carry the burden of covering the cost of overdue sewer bills paid to the City of Sidney, and that new measures were needed to encourage residents to get caught up.
Fiscal Officer Judy Fair reported she had recently sent out 30 letters to residents with overdue bills and only received responses from six people who paid on old bills but were in violation again for not paying current ones.
Council then drafted a resolution to charge an additional $10 per month on top of an existing 20 percent bi-annual surcharge on the overdue amount owed at tax time twice a year.
Council heard the first reading of the resolution and encouraged anyone with questions to contact a council member or come to the next meeting on April 1.
While on the subject of sewage rates, Butterfield noted he recently received a letter from the City of Sidney with the sewage rate agreement contract for 2019 and he was surprised to learn the rates had gone down 12 percent due to a reduction in staff in Sidney.
Council next approved the annual appropriation funds for 2019. The total amount available for the year is $378,368, with the lion’s share of the money going to street projects, sewage maintenance, and utilities upkeep.
Council approved giving the Shelby County board of elections permission to rent the Community Center for the regular election in November and any other special elections as needed. The village will receive $100 for each time the hall is used for elections.
Council member Tim Smith asked the mayor who would clean up the hall after the elections and Butterfield said the Board of Elections had done so elsewhere so he hoped they would clean up after themselves in Port Jefferson as well.
Butterfield opened the floor to the public, and local resident Ed Patterson spoke to council about the possibility of the village taking over the maintenance of a small lot that lies to the east of his house, by the old flowing well basin at the intersection of Canal and Walnut Streets.
“I have mowed the lot for 44 years and worked with our neighbors to paint the well basin and plant flowers and a tree in it in the past,” Patterson said. “We are wondering about the possibility of the village dividing that lot between the neighbor and I or coming up with an alternate solution for the maintenance or removal of the old well basin and mowing the grass.”
Mayor Butterfield referred the matter to the street committee who will evaluate the situation and report back with their findings and recommendation at the next council meeting.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on April 1, at 7 p.m., at the Community Center, in Port Jefferson.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.