PORT JEFFERSON — Drivers not obeying the speed limits are appearing in mayor’s court as the Port Jefferson Police Department is cracking down on violators.
Mayor Steve Butterfield shared the Mayor’s Court report during Monday’s council meeting. He noted the police department is making headway in several areas especially improving safety for motorists.
“Income from traffic violations (speeding) for the village was $3,808 in February alone with $1,050 of that going to the state of Ohio. As many have noticed, our police force is working a lot more hours which has resulted in a greater number of fines for speeders going through our town. People know our officers are out watching, yet the average speed of those pulled over is in excess of 50 mph in a 35 zone. I’m also pleased to announce our officers have assisted in seeing things get cleaned up a little around town by enforcement of our ordinances,” Butterfield said.
Butterfield said the village will begin taking bids on renovations for the Community Center and asked council if they planned to rent the facility. Though maintained and used occasionally for fundraisers, community events and a polling location at election time, the hall has not been available to rent for social events.
“I get a lot of calls asking if the hall is available for rent, I need an answer for them and will need to know how much it will cost to rent it if council decides to do so,” Butterfield said.
Councilman Tim Smith asked why the village would maintain the hall and was planning to spend an additional $20,000 to $30,000 in renovations if they did not plan to rent it out.
Councilman Bob Bollinger agreed saying, “Why spend the money to fix it up if we aren’t going to use it?”
Butterfield cautioned council to consider the responsibility that goes along with cleanup after the hall is rented if the renters do not clean it up.
Council voted to make the village Community Center available for rent in the future. The proposed figure to rent the hall will be $350 per event. An additional $150 deposit will be required up front and refunded if the hall is cleaned up properly.
Fiscal officer Judy Fair reported she took a $100,000 check from the village savings to Mutual Federal Savings and Loan hoping to get a higher interest rate on their investment but was not able to deposit the check due to confusion in filling out the application. The money was re-deposited in the original account in the original bank.
“We’re still looking into other options and hopefully can find a better place to invest this money.” Fair said.
Krystal Cox asked about fixing the potholes on Canal Street. Butterfield said they will be repaired with the reconstruction of Canal and Elm streets this summer.
Butterfield asked council about replacing a traffic light that was damaged by a hit and run farm combine last fall. He suggested just turning it in to insurance and paying the deductible. Butterfield said he had talked to ODOT and they said there was no grant funding available without doing a detailed traffic study.
After some discussion it was determined that since the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office could not solve the crime, and research into repairing the lights found it was not an option, the village will pay the $1,000 deductible and have the light replaced “if the insurance company agrees to do so.”
Butterfield reported the old blue house on Main Street will be demolished and the property reverted to the land bank. Plans are moving ahead with acquiring new safety vests for the police department.
Council approved a resolution to place a replacement levy on the ballot for the fall election in November. The new 1 mill replacement levy will be good for three years if approved.
Council heard a report from local Pastor Ernie Jones from the New Life Church in Port Jefferson who said plans are underway to initiate a program to help those fighting addictions of all kinds. Jones invited everyone to attend a prayer vigil to be held at the shelter house at Julia Lamb Field on Saturday, March 7, at 1 p.m.
“We just want to say thank you to the Village of Port Jefferson for all their support to our community over the years. We are looking forward to working with other local churches and municipalities who may be interested in helping those with addictions,” Jones said.
Council’s next meeting will be April 6 at 7 p.m. in the community Center.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.