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Updated: Northport Village Reappoints Attorney, Board Chairs and More at Annual Organizational Meeting

Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin will stay on for another year, while all of the trustees will continue to oversee various departments.

The Board of Trustees renewed the terms of numerous local village employees and re-asserted multiple government policies at their annual organizational meeting on April 5.

Trustee Henry Tobin was re-appointed to his role of deputy mayor after a resolution was approved board, 3-0, with his abstention. Trustee Jerry Maline was absent.

Village Attorney James Matthews was re-appointed as well with the passing of Resolution 2011-36, with terms that include a monthly retainer of $7,500, and $150 per hour when he serves as the attorney of record for the village.

Ed Gathman of firm of Gathman and Bennett and Karen Kerr of The Law Offices of James M. Matthews were appointed as assistant village attorneys (Resolutions 2011-37 and 2011-38).

Gathman, who serves as attorney to the Village Planning Board, is to be paid a monthly retainer of $833.33;$500 for each Monday night Village Justice Court appearance and $150 per hour for "litigation matters or other proceedings" when he or his frim become the village's  "attorney of record" and other matters, as designated by the mayor or the village attorney.

Kerr is also to be paid $500 per Village Justice Court appearance and $150 per hour when she appears  "as the attorney of record" for the village."

Roger Ramme, was re-appointed as a special assistant village attorney for the purpose of representing the village in tax certiorari proceedings pending in the Supreme Court, Suffolk County for the monthly retainer of $1,000. Ramme is also a member of the village Board of Zoning Appeals.

Multiple chairmen and board members were appointed roles as well. The most notable appointment was the re-appointing of Phil Weber as the chairman of Board of Fire Commissioners (Resolution 2011-42). Weber is in his forty-second year in that position.

The Board also chose to re-appoint Gannett Fleming as the Village Engineer (2011-46) despite some uncertainty over whether the company's term was up. The Board decided that it would be easier to start the one-year cycle from this date even if there was still time left on the company's previous term.

Policies renewed included the village's investment policy, check signing policy, purchasing policy, credit card purchasing policy, and cellular telephone policy.

The Board also voted to provide $2,000 for the Northport Historical Society; $,2700 for the Northport Community Band; $1,000 the Northport American Legion Post 694, and $1,000 for the Northport Arts Coalition. The board also re-authorized the right for a Farmer's Market to be held once a week in Cow Harbor Park starting May 1.

The resolutions were part of general bookkeeping that is part of the board's annual organizational meeting, which takes place on the first Tuesday in April every year. A resolution (2011-55) was passed for the Board to hold the same meeting next April 3, 2012. See the entire list of appointments on a PDF attached to this article.

Sewer Rent Appeals: 41 Adjustments, 27 Denials
The Board also released a preliminary list of the approvals and denials of appeals to reduce the charged to residents of Northport Village at the end of January. Out of the 68 applications evaluated, 41 residents saw their rent payments reduced. One of the notable reductions was given to the Trinity Church, whose $620.96 bill was reduced to $409.74. Some of the residents had minimal reductions, while one resident had their bill reduced by over $1,000. 11 residents had their rental fees reduced to $0.00 Twenty-seven applications were denied by the board, including one from H&S Realty.

The preliminary list was approved as part of Village Resolution 2011-62. Village Clerk Donna Koch told those present at the meeting that the Board still had to evaluate some of the appeal applications, and that a final list would be ready by the next meeting.

Proposed Local Law "C": Upcoming Public Hearing
The other resolution of note passed by the Village was to permit a public hearing over Proposed Local Law "C" of 2011.

The proposed law is an amendment to Chapter 89 of the Village Code, which pertains to the in regard to Alcoholic Beverages. The proposed law would raise the fees against parents (or other adults) who allow minors to drink alcohol in their homes. First-time offenses will be doubled to $500, second-time offenses will be doubled to $1,000, and third-time offenses will be punishable by  a $1,500 fine and/or up to a year in prison.
 
The law allows a parent or legal guardian — in or out of their home: (1) to serve one's own child alcohol, (2) to consent when present and, (3) to give prior consent to religious use. This code applies to private settings, not just a residences, including, a party hall, location, venue, locale or private use of a public space and/or private space whether inside or outside, and whether or not owned by the occupier."

An amendment to Chapter 147 of the Village Code is also proposed in this law which gives the Village the right to charge $25 for applications for tree permits. The Board stated that this fee was previously agreed upon, but it had not yet been enforced; amending the Code allows them to do so.

The public hearing on the proposed law will take place at the next Board of Trustees meeting (April 19).

Commissioner Reports
One of the resolutions passed as part of the Village's bookkeeping (2011-34) re-designated which Trustee members are in charge of which committees. Trustee Damon McMullen will continue to be the commissioner of Parks & Waterways as well as Athletic Activities, while Tobin will remain commissioner of Finance, Infastructure, and Information Technology. Trustee Thomas Kehoe will be commissioner of Commerce, Police, and Sanitation, while Trustee Jerry Maline (who was not present at the meeting) will be in charge of Personnel and Planning & Development. Mayor George Doll will remain in charge of highways.

Before the resolution was passed, the Trustees submitted their reports. Tobin discussed the guided tour that Village Administrator Gene Guido led for Bayview Avenue residents to review the as part of the TEA-21 funding received from National Grid.

Tobin noted that it was well-attended and commended the efforts of Guido and Koch of sending letters to residents informing them of the tour. There was no word on any potential alterations to the plan.

Tobin also noted that the village is moving along in getting grants for work it needs to do as well as reimbursements for work already done. He noted that National Grid reimbursed the village $79,314 for repair work done on a pipe along the west side of Bayview Avenue. The Village also was reimbursed $188,528 for work done along Scudder Avenue as part of the Tea-21 plans, and received $39,949 in combined reimbursements for partial work that was already completed on two other grants.

McMullen's trustee report mentioned that the season was starting soon, and noted that the village would perform some maintenance on the gazebo and the playground at He said that they would also use a thatcher to trim weeds on fields 2 and 3.

Also part of McMullen's report was a pending discussion with the from the the to the main Northport dock.

McMullen wanted to look into replacing the bulkheads as a result of wear from the numerous storms this winter. The village will also consider adding concrete behind the bulkheads as the normal solution of using sand led to erosion.

Trustee Kehoe noted that the Water Planning committee will re-convene on April 14 at 1pm at Town Hall. He noted that he went with several board members to a presentation at the Stony Brook University-Southampton Campus dealing with nitrogen concentration in water and ways to remediate that. He said that the village will continue to work with the town in order to get the up to proper water quality codes.

Police chief Ric Bruckenthal said that the police department had 363 calls for service, issued seven summonses, and made four arrests in March. He also commended Sergeant Mike Cook for .

The arrested burglar was later linked to six prior burglaries, including a prior heist at Village Physical Therapy and one at the Bank of America on Larkfield Road. He is currently being held at the county jail in Riverhead. 

Bruckenthal also mentioned that the department received a $22,000 grant for TRACKS, a new traffic and criminal software that will allow the police to scan licenses and registrations instead of copying down that information on forms.
The software will create a ticket if it is necessary and send any information to the DMV, the department of transportation, and any courts if useful. The new technology will save the department significant processing time.

The police department also has its police boat out in the water and they use it to patrol the waters on weekends. They are also cracking down on local residents who spend spring months taking up residence in the docks for free, prohibiting them from staying there unless they pay a fee. The way the board phrased it was that they couldn't use the docks' water and electricity unless they paid for that privilege. As a result, many of the residents who usually live there have not stayed there this year.

Public Forum: Betty's Fight Against the Docks
Local resident Betty Koerner was at the meeting and brought back up her complaints about local residents extending docks into the local waterways. She was upset that the Town of Huntington was permitting these residents to build into the waters beyond what they were already permitted, extending out into the waterways that belong to the people of Huntington.

When Koerner asked the board why it was able to happen, Tobin noted that the boundaries for docks are either defined by definite boundaries or high tide marks, which change over time as sand or mud accretes or is washed away.
 Matthews added that the Town of Huntington issues permits to the property owners, and that the only restrictions placed on those docks is that they can't impede waterways.

Koerner specified a dock on Bluff Point Road that was extended well beyond its original length, and wondered why it was permitted. Mayor Doll told Koerner that the dock in question was damaged years ago, and that the village requested that it was repaired years ago, only to see the property owner encounter trouble getting a permit to do so.

He noted that the Village Board had no jurisdiction over the Town's rulings, and questioned what Koerner was looking for from them; she replied that she was looking for some support from the Board, but only if their consciences told them to support her. The board did not take a public stance.

Warrants
Two general fund bills were approved. One, for the 2011/12 fiscal year, was in the amount of $25,690.07, while the other, for the 2010/11 fiscal year, was in the amount of $12,438.45. Capital fund bills were approved in the amount of $3,068.50.

Miscellaneous
Local Boy Scout troop 410 sent a letter thanking the village for helping them participate in their Polar Bear swim on New Year's Day. The fundraiser raised over $4,000 for the

A request from the  to close Main Street for its candlelight Spring Memorial Service on Sunday, May 1, was granted. Since it is on a weekend, there will be no need to pay additional police overtime (as there are already more police officers staffed on weekends during the warmer months).

Mayor Doll said that the Village's annual "Clean the Beach" day will be held on April 30 at the Village dock at 9 a.m.

The Board saluted Erica Reinhard, who is retiring after years of service managing the Wastewater Treatment Plant next month. 

The next meeting of the Northport Village Board of Trustees will be Tuesday, April 19.

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