PORT JEFFERSON — David Clem was sworn in Monday night to continue to serve on the Port Jefferson Council.
Clem, a former Port Jefferson mayor, had served on council as recently as last year but his term ran out at the end of 2017. After the council meeting was called to order Mayor Steve Butterfield said if no one in attendance had in intentions of running for council that he (the Mayor) had the authority to appoint someone if need be and seeing that no one had submitted a petition asked if there were any nominations. David Clem was in attendance and was nominated by council member Krystal Cox; council voted to appoint Clem who was then sworn in by Butterfield.
Council then heard a report from fiscal officer Judy Fair who outlined all the all bills for the village from last month, which was accepted
Butterfield then submitted payment to council for last month’s traffic fines totaling $1,211. Council approved the payment and then voted to also accept payment for street repairs resulting from the monies received from State Issue 1 last year; the payment amounted to $33,470 and will be used for resurfacing East Lane Street.
Next council heard the third reading of an ordinance concerning the sale of approximately 2.67 acres the village currently owns. Butterfield said the land is no longer needed and is a financial liability. The Port Jefferson Fire Department is hoping to purchase the land in order to build a much-needed firehouse to accommodate a bigger fire engine and create more room for other equipment updates. The motion passed and the village will advertise the land for sale once a week for the next five weeks in the local news publications. Council reserves the right to accept or reject any or all offers. The minimum bid must be at least $22,000 with 10 percent down and paid off in 30 days; the ordinance authorizing the sale of the land stipulates the land must be used to enhance the health and welfare of the local community and be a benefit to the public in general and is not for sale for the purpose of private ownership with no intentions of meeting said requirements.
Council then endorsed a bid to make improvements on Spring Street and Wall Street totaling $131, 432.96. The lowest bid came from Nagle Construction who will begin work on the project in late June or early July. Council also approved the contract with Rumpke to handle the village waste pick-up.
Council voted to reduce the speed limit on Canal Street from 20 mph to 15 mph and also voted to get new speed-limit signs. Also approved was the purchase of approximately 12 “No Parking from here to Corner” signs to be installed immediately upon receiving the signs.
“For safety’s there will be no parking allowed within 30 feet of the corners of all street intersections,” said Butterfield, who also noted the village will start enforcing parking regulations and all cars in the city limits must be parallel parked and that “pull-in” parking will no longer be tolerated except on the west side of the 47 Inn on the one-way street.
Fair presented preliminary figures for the 2018 budget and council discussed the amounts. Since some of the numbers were only estimates and there were suggestions to move funds from place to another council agreed to approve the budget at the next meeting after all the information required was compiled. Butterfield said the general fund started with $3,000 last year and ended up with $18,000 which was quite an improvement.
Lastly council heard comments from Butterfield and Clem concerning inquiries about renting the Community Hall. Council had voted to stop renting the hall at the end of 2017 but Butterfield and Clem both felt that council should rethink the situation seeing all the interest generated by those seeking to use the hall.
“I’ve had several phone calls about hall rentals and while there is a degree of liability and responsibility involved on our part I sure hate to see our village miss out on the added income,” said Clem.
Council members Loretta Cook, Krystal Cox and Sharon Whitehead all spoke in favor of continuing the hall rental but all also noted the need for improvements to make the hall more appealing. After much discussion Council agreed to pursue the matter further and look into making some improvements to the hall. Anyone interested in renting the Community Hall may contact Butterfield or call Clem at 937-726-1566.
Before closing, Clem noted the need to publicly commend the Port Jefferson Village Police Department for their community spirit and level of public service.
“Our police officers are doing a fine job, I have personally experienced service above and beyond what one might expect and just wanted to say thank-you on the behalf of council,” said Clem.
Council’s next meeting will be held on March 5 at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.