PORT JEFFERSON — Port Jefferson Police Lieutenant Austin Knight opened Monday’s July council meeting with a report on the current standing of the police department. Mayor Steve Butterfield had requested at least one police officer be in attendance at the monthly council meetings and report on recent activities.
Knight revealed plans to continue help make much-needed improvements in the village especially in the areas of removing junk cars and accumulations of trash located outside some of the homes as well as providing a safer place for the residents to live in. Knight noted the department will be stepping up patrols as the number of part-time officers has increased allowing more consistent coverage in the area of law enforcement. He said though things were improving as far as the village meeting the departmental needs, they will soon need a better police cruiser as the one they now have “has a lot of reoccurring issues and is not going to last very much longer”
Continuing Knight reported progress has been made on a few ongoing matters around town concerning the removal of old cars, unsightly trash, and unacceptable living conditions but it all takes time.
“Things didn’t get bad here overnight and likewise it will take some time to get things cleaned up; I have asked for help from the Shelby County Health Department on a few problems where they have more experience, and the authority and expertise to move things along; we will see progress but often times progress is slowed by statutes of limitations on enforcement. Folks will be given a reasonable amount of time to comply with orders for cleaning up, but when the time runs out stronger measure will be put in place by the village and county government to remedy the problems,” Knight said.
He also stressed motorists traveling through the village should be more mindful of their speedometers as there will be an increase on traffic control those driving faster than the speed limit will be ticketed.
“We have a lot of people crossing streets to go to some of our local businesses and others who are jogging in the early morning hours before work, this along with children playing in the vicinity adds up to situations where speeding cars are a threat to the safety of our residents and others visiting our community; speeders will not be tolerated,” Knight said.
Butterfield reported he has sold the riding lawnmower the village used in the past but became inoperable due to a broken driveshaft. Council had previously moved to sell the mower rather than repair it due to high repair cost estimates and a decreased amount of mowing requirements since selling a large lot to the Port Jefferson Fire Company as a future building site for the new fire department building. The mower sold for $100 and also sold three metal animals from the old school playground equipment for $150. The money will go to the general fund.
Butterfield reported little progress has been made on resurfacing Main Street between the city limits due to ongoing unfavorable weather conditions noting it seemed like the rain would never stop.
“I’m hoping they (the pavers) will get back here soon but it all depends on the scheduling and other priorities and I doubt we are very high up on the list compared to other larger and more pressing projects,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield asked council if they had made a decision as to whether or not they wanted to go with new street lights for Main Street replacing them with more efficient LED lighting. In a prior meeting the mayor shared cost estimates from Miami Valley Lighting to install the new lights and after consideration council voted unanimously to replace the old lights; ratification of the proposal for the lighting was needed before Dec. 31. The lights will be installed next year.
Before adjourning Butterfield reported on a variety of ongoing projects around the village, most notably resurfacing a small portion of South Elm Street and removing another tree that fell into the canal. He said he would check into getting the tree removed and keep council posted on the progress of street repairs. He also observed he would be holding a short meeting with the street and safety committees on Tuesday evening at 6:30 p.m. in the mayor’s office, the meeting is open to the public.
The next regularly scheduled council meeting will be held on Aug. 7 in the village community center at 7 p.m.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.