PORT JEFFERSON — Port Jefferson Mayor Steve Butterfield announced the resignation of Councilman David Clem at the village council meeting Monday, May 6, 2019.
Clem, who had once served as mayor of Port Jefferson, continued to serve as a council member in more recent years and was instrumental in many village improvements. In his comments Butterfueld expressed his appreciation for all that Clem had done over the years and the sadness in his voice echoed his sentiments for Clem’s excellent community service.
“Dave was a great Mayor and served faithfully for many, many, years on council; we go way back … Dave has been around almost as many years as myself. He has always been a great voice for the residents of Port Jefferson and possesses a heart-felt passion for the village as a whole always looking for positive ways to make improvements. I want to personally thank David for all his years of community service and dedication to our village, I could always depend on him for advice and support and it will be hard to find someone to fill his shoes,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield suggested council look into a replacement for Clem as soon as possible.
“Council has 30 days to come up with a prospect to serve as a new council member and if no recommendations are made in that time period I reserve the right to appoint someone,” Butterfield said.
Resident Don Fair, who has worked for the village for many years on a part-time basis mowing grass in the summer and plowing snow in the winter, expressed concerns about replacing the village lawn mower which is broken. Fair noted the $2,300 mower the village purchased from Lowes for $900 did not last very long and wondered if the village planned to get a new one.
“I want to know what council plans to do about the mower, are you going to repair it, replace it, or get someone else to cut the grass?” Fair said.
Councilman Tim Smith noted the mower cost the village $900 when they bought it and would now cost another $800 to repair and felt that was a bad idea. He also questioned whether or not the issue about what to do with the mower had already been settled at a prior meeting and that the mower was supposed to be advertised online for sale. Councilwoman Krystal Cox said Smith was correct but measures were never taken to sell the mower yet as there seemed to be some confusion as to how the issue would be handled. Smith and Cox said they would take care of selling the old mower.
After a lengthy discussion council voted to hire an outside professional mowing service to cut the village grass.
Fair asked if he would still be needed to plow snow and Smith said yes, noting since the village had a plow truck they would still require his services but not for mowing grass as there was now no village-owned mower. After more discussion, Fair turned in the keys to the mower and snow plow and resigned, announcing he would no longer be available to work in the winter alone. Council accepted his resignation. Council then said they will either advertise for bids to cut the grass or have Butterfield hire a professional to do the job.
Butterfield announced he was contacted by the Port Jefferson Fire Company (fire department) about the possibility of using the Community Center for a chicken-fry fundraiser. Council approved the use of the hall and the chicken fry will take place May 19 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Cost for the chicken dinners will be $7 prior to the event and $8 at the door. Tickets may be purchased in advance at the PJ firehouse. For more info call Rodney Wooddell all 937-498-1960. All funds raised will be used to construct a new firehouse.
Butterfield reported he had met with Ratermann Insurance Agency and needed approval to pay for the updated insurance policy for the village. The insurance will cover all the village needs including police liability, village-owned buildings, and all aspects of village equipment, village employees and elected officials. Council approved the measure to pay for the insurance.
In other new business council approved the removal of a large tree that had fallen into the canal along Canal Street behind the pump station. Butterfield said the tree needed to be removed ASAP so as not to interfere with the pump station; he said he will contact Jim Kohler who said he would remove the tree for $200.
Butterfield announced he had hired Terry Brentlinger to serve as a village police patrolman. Brentlinger, who lives in Lakeview, Ohio, will work for the village for 10 hours per month. Butterfield said he is still looking for at least one more part-time patrolman and anyone interested in the job can contact him at 937-492-9652.
The next council meeting will be held in the PJ Community Center on June 3 at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.