As Long Island started with Phase 4 opening Wednesday, July 8, Port Jefferson village is active in debating a number of topics both related to the pandemic and not. Here are a few updates from the village’s July 6 meeting.
• Metered parking started up again in Port Jeff July 1. Monday through Wednesday will remain free parking, and parking ambassadors are going around on heavily trafficked days to disinfect meters. Some meters have been converted so people can pay with their phones by tapping their devices with either Google or Apple Pay to the meters.
Main Street remains open for curbside pickup only on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Otherwise it is open for 1 hour parking only during those same times.
• Village officials agreed to pay Andy Fortier Fine Woodworking and Design $10,857 to finish up the last designs for the Harborfront Park stage. This includes permanent railings up to the stage and postings at the edges of the stage footprint which will handle the decorative sails meant to cover over the stage. The sails will be rigged up like on a sailboat so they can lift and cover the stage. The money is coming out of the Farmers Market Trust Account, which is made up of the fees merchants pay the village to set up their stalls.
• Texaco Park in Upper Port is open, though the basketball hoop was taken down to dissuade contact sports. Reopening other parks in the village is a little more controversial.
The trustees debated opening up Rocketship Park, with Mayor Margot Garant and trustee Stan Loucks concerned with the amount of traffic the park gets. Trustee Kathianne Snaden argued that beaches are already open with kids playing there as well, and that the village could try and open it to “see how it goes.”
The village parks department is said to be spraying down benches and other equipment in the mornings as a kind of “routine maintenance,” according tovillage administrator Joe Palumbo.
Officials also talked about adding free-standing hand-sanitizing stations to park entrances or potentially limiting park hours and capacity while having a person on staff monitoring how many people are in the park at a time.
• Garant said the village is working to codify a new rule setting a moratorium on any new parades for the foreseeable future. This comes after this past week when a right wing Facebook group Setauket Patriots filed a permit for their own parade for the Fourth of July weekend after the fire department canceled its annual event. That parade was in part a political response to a Black Lives Matter march that came through Port Jefferson two weeks before. Village officials approved that march, though officials also had reservations about that event.
While the village still has to set up a date for a public hearing on a moratorium, Garant said they are adding an emergency order for village employees to put any new parade applications under stay, for the time being.
“I think we made a mistake, and we need to just stop now and be careful about how we’re moving forward,” the mayor said.
At the July 6 meeting, the board also retroactively publicly approved the Setauket Patriots parade after having been polled on the decision remotely. All approved the parade except Garant, who had previously recused herself from that original decision.
• The village re-upped its contract with Social Butterfly, a web and social media agency based in Port Jefferson for $2,000 a month. Garant said the agency does posts to the village’s Facebook page and establishes events for the page. They also work with Port Jefferson and the country club’s website regarding events. Snaden asked if the agency can give more up-to-date statistics for page views and offer ways to work with Facebook’s algorithms so more people can see village posts.
• Port Jefferson approved at a monthly cost of $1,000 Garland Industries for IT services for the operation and maintenance of the Foreup system software. Foreup is software for managing tee times and other marketing for golf clubs. Brian Macmillan, the general manager of the Port Jefferson Country Club, said it will streamline current services and send out emails to market country club membership. The village capped the services for four months through October, with a chance to reevaluate the program after that time.