Perspective: Taking village decision-making in a civic direction

Perspective: Taking village decision-making in a civic direction

By Ana Hozyainova

We are pleased to announce that the Port Jefferson Civic Association is fully formed and welcomes all village residents.

PJCA was founded to protect and represent residents’ voices in all village matters. Working together, we can identify and amplify concerns that would otherwise get overlooked and help ensure they are brought to the attention of our village representatives.

For example, the board of trustees without any prior notice or public debate voted March 20 to extend terms from two to four years starting in June 2023. The civic association does not have a position on the decision, but believes that term changes are significant and should be debated.

As a civic association, we can pinpoint an issue before it escalates to a crisis and encourage preemptive action. If we had had an active civic association in 2020, perhaps we could have avoided issuing a $10 million bond as the solution to the East Beach bluff predicament. While the erosion needed to be addressed, it was not an excuse for action without debate. The issuance of the bond took many residents by surprise. And although some funds have already been spent, it is not a done deal. Continuing discussions at Village Hall indicate there are other, more cost-effective alternatives still to be explored.

Going forward, the hope is that the civic association can collaborate with local officials to identify solutions that are sustainable, effective and in the best interests of village residents.

Besides the upper wall at Port Jefferson Country Club, PJCA will focus on the overdevelopment of the village. The latter is particularly alarming given the steep slopes, inefficient storm drainage and rising sea levels that make Port Jefferson vulnerable to flooding. That is why a strong focus on preserving open spaces is important. Open space has been proven to mitigate flooding and help purify water to maintain our aquifer — both of which, ultimately, save tax dollars.

 As a community, we will continue to face many issues of urgency and importance. We are committed to working with village officials and residents to find solutions that prioritize both the well-being of the villagers and the sustainability of our environment.

We call on all residents to join us in these important conversations. The PJCA meets at the Port Jefferson Free Library, every second Wednesday of the month. Our next meeting will be April 12 at 7:30 p.m. For more details, email [email protected].

Ana Hozyainova is president of the Port Jefferson Civic Association.