The Port Jefferson Board of Trustees delivered several important announcements to the public during its monthly general meeting on Monday, Aug. 1.
During the business meeting, the board accepted the resignation of village administrator Joe Palumbo, effective Aug. 12. This marks the end of Palumbo’s nearly three years of service in that role.
Along with the resignation of the village administrator, Mayor Margot Garant announced multiple appointments, naming Deputy Mayor Kathianne Snaden as trustee liaison to the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Trustee Rebecca Kassay will take over as the village’s commissioner of environmental sustainability. In addition, residents Gerard Gang and Jennifer Testa were appointed to the Architectural Review Committee.
During the general meeting, Garant delivered several updates on projects at East Beach that will affect residents in the coming weeks. Construction of the lower wall at East Beach to stabilize the bluff will begin next week. The mayor predicts the project will take approximately eight months to complete.
“You’ll start to see large boulders and the steel being delivered to the parking lot area,” Garant said. “They’re going to start to mobilize with construction. Unfortunately, the beach, folks, will be closed. You can walk down, but you’ve got to stay away from the major construction.”
About 450 lineal feet of bluff line will be sloped and revegetated, likely sometime in the spring. “It’s a long project, it’s a lot of stabilization, and that is underway,” Garant said.
The mayor also announced that plans to construct an upper wall to protect the clubhouse at the Port Jefferson Country Club will be going out to bid. This next step, according to the mayor, will allow the board to gather more information as it prepares to make a final determination on how to proceed with regards to that facility.
“That project will be going out to bid just so we can get the information and see what the numbers look like,” she said. “We need to have the hard numbers before we can make any real decisions. We will be making a presentation to the public, informing you all along the way.” She added, “It’s a pretty complicated process.”
Concluding her report, Garant announced that the village will partner with the Long Island Seaport and Eco Center to commission a whaleboat.
“It’s not a whaleboat to go fishing for whales,” she said, jokingly. “It’s a whaleboat that was famously used during the [Culper] Spy Ring … Our whaleboat will be something we can use for programming and for demonstrations down at the museum.”
Snaden provided an update on the roadway obstruction at the intersection of Arlington Avenue and Route 25A. She was pleased to see that the New York State Department of Transportation had resumed construction at that site.
“You can see that a lot of work has been done,” the deputy mayor said. “Most recently, they have started the layers of paving and they are still on track to be finished with that and [have] that road open hopefully by the end of summer.”
Trustee Lauren Sheprow delivered several updates on the status of the Recreation Department. She first highlighted the close relationship the village recreation director has forged with the Port Jefferson School District.
The newest member of the board also announced a village-wide golf outing scheduled for Sept. 22. The fee for the event is $50, which will cover 18 holes of golf at the PJCC along with cart fees, green fees, food and prizes.
“We are opening up our golf outing to the entire Port Jefferson community,” Sheprow said. “That will include Port Jefferson Fire Department volunteers, Port Jefferson School District employees, Port Jefferson village employees and all the residents of Port Jefferson village.” She added, “Proof of employment is required, as is proof of residence.”
Sheprow also announced the reinstatement of the village recreation committee, which will be made up of “seven to nine village residents who can provide feedback and guidance, leading to recommendations to the board of trustees for improvements to parks, facilities and recreational programming,” the trustee said. She added that the next step is to establish a charter for the committee and explore possible candidates.
Sheprow also announced her plans to foster a closer relationship between the Village of Port Jefferson and Stony Brook University. Following conversations with the Office of Community Relations at SBU, the village government hopes to tap into resident experts and specialists in service of the village’s aims.
“The village is proposing to establish a think tank of sorts made up of researchers and scientists at Stony Brook [University] who live in Port Jefferson and who can engage and consult on the opportunities and challenges in their hometown village,” Sheprow said. “This can include marine sciences, engineering sciences, environmental sustainability, education, health and wellness, culture, society … it doesn’t stop. There are so many opportunities to bring in the knowledge of these experts.”
Kassay offered her support for this proposal, saying, “I’m looking forward to seeing all of the community members that are engaged in a lot of those initiatives, as well as the university.”
Kassay delivered a brief report, highlighting some of the environmental activities she has undertaken. She said the Conservation Advisory Council is researching municipal bamboo codes.
“This has been brought up by a few residents over the years and increasingly so more recently,” she said.
Trustee Stan Loucks used his report to recognize the Parks Department for its recent efforts to facilitate several events held throughout the village.
“The Parks Department is responsible for a lot of things in the village that a lot of us are not aware of,” he said. “They take care of every park in the village. They take care of a lot of grassy areas in the village that are not considered parks … and I think they deserve a lot of credit.” He added, “Many times you’ll see them out there with the white trucks and the blue uniforms. If you see them working, stop and say ‘Hello’ and thank them for what they do.”
To access the full meeting, visit the village’s YouTube page.