Trustees Discuss Higher Fee for Farmers' Market 2012 Season

Greenport Village Trustees will vote on a resolution allowing the Greenport Farmers' Market to set up shop in a South Street parking lot for one year and the board has proposed to raise the permit fee from $1,000 to $2,500 for the upcoming season.

Greenport Farmers' Market organizers will not only have to change locations this year, they might have to pay a larger fee to set up shop in the village as well.

At Monday evening’s Greenport Village work session, the board set aside time to discuss the merits of the Greenport Farmers’ Market mass public assembly permit. The group asked to extend the hours from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m., asked for a three-year contract, and asked to change location to the South Street parking lot west of the IGA.

Mayor David Nyce read a letter from Greenport Business Improvement District (BID) President Peter Clarke, in which Clarke pledged his overall support for the market and the proposed South Street location. However, Clarke also voiced concerns over parking and asked the village to ensure parking in the lot would resume at 1 p.m. “sharp.”

Christina Larkin, treasurer of the Greenport Farmers’ Market, said her organization received guidance and advice from Greenport’s BID for the upcoming year. Larkin said the first year was successful for the market and the group received positive feedback from residents, vendors, and businesses. She also pointed out many customers walked to the market each week.

“The location wasn’t our first choice, but we made the lot our home and we’ll make this new lot our home,” Larkin said.

Nyce said, based on the input he’s received, the board will have to make suggestions as to where vendors park, so additional parking spaces are not taken and homes on Second Street are not impacted. He also did not support extending the time until 1 p.m. because the village lots start filling up by 12:30 at peak times.

Trustee Mary Bess Phillips said she had heard from merchants that the cleanup did not always go quickly and questioned whether the trustees could even agree to a three-year contract. She said she believed the market brought new people into the village and that it was a positive addition.

While saying that he felt the market did work, Trustee George Hubbard said the $1,000 fee the village charged the market was not enough and he said the fee should increase. He suggested a $2,500 fee as being fair for this year considering the rent and taxes other merchants have to pay to do business in the village.

After listening to input from trustees, Nyce said the village will vote on allowing the market to use western most South Street parking lot for one year and charge a $2,500 permit fee. In addition, the market must be out by 1 p.m. and will not be allowed to run over Memorial Day weekend.

The board will vote on the resolution at a special March meeting because Nyce and Phillips will not be at the February meeting.

Eileen Rich February 22, 2012 at 04:04 PM
Greenport is the only municipality in New York State who treats a Farmer's Market like it's a porn club...
Jennifer Conway February 22, 2012 at 04:06 PM
I heard what happened at the meeting last night...shady...real shady...the board should be ashamed of themselves!
Jennifer Long February 22, 2012 at 04:27 PM
I heard that at the Village Meeting that the Village Board and Mayor waited for the Farmers Market board to leave before discussing raising the rent $1,500.00, also limiting their weeks of operation, and times. When were they going to let the Market know? Sometime in March in the middle of the day? Where is this extra money being applied? What is the Village's actual intention here?
Jennifer Conway February 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM
You are absolutely right! They let the market vendors get up to speak, told them they could leave b/c they were moving on to other business, then when they left had all these other discussions including raising the fees. Why in the world is the town so against this? Having Farmers Markets is such a wonderful way of supporting small farmers and craftsmen in our community. I have always felt it was this strength in our community that has kept us thriving al these years! I could not be more disappointed in the Greenport Village than I am right now.
Erin Schultz (Editor) February 22, 2012 at 05:41 PM
Jennifer Roalef Conway said on Facebook: "Hmm..I heard what happened at that meeting last night. Shady....real shady...the board should be ashamed of themselves!"
John February 22, 2012 at 06:03 PM
Welcome to the David Nyce and Company, "I do not share any information with the public club" Dues and heartburn are free.
William Swiskey sr February 22, 2012 at 06:29 PM
Hey market folks, wecome to the REAL WORLD of Nyce and company. So you feel put out, how do you think the merchants feel who showed up with a 500 plus names on a petition against parking meters. this to confront a board that dispite claiming they wanted the merchants imput on the issue had already decided to purchase the meters months ago. What about taxpayers who were told we are passing a law to breech the two percent tax cap at will.We don't caer what you voted for we know best. How about a referendum on this one? let the taxpayers speak. Then we get the imformation that the two big pushers on these issues Philips and Nyce will not be available next Monday when the public gets it's once a month chance to speak directly to the board. My advise market people be there on the27th and let the other three in no uncertain terms how you feel. You want a good question to ask. Trustees Hubbard and Murray it cost the people of the village $42,000 a year for yor benefits and you don't have a problem with that. yet you want an organization with gross revenues of $5,000+ a year to pay half to the village just to operate. Why do you need the extra $1,500 increase , for village expenses?
Margaret Ann Cowden February 23, 2012 at 12:54 AM
Just when I think I can’t be surprised by the short-sightedness of government decision-making or the lack of transparency in the processs, I hear the deeply disappointing news of the Greenport Village Board’s reaction to the Greenport Farmers’ Market petition for space for the 2012 market season and their timing of postponing the sharing of pertinent information until representatives of the Market had left the meeting. As a Greenport resident, I was excited to see the steady stream of customers who made their way to the Market each Saturday last summer, many of whom then wandered off to support Greenport businesses within walking distance. Meanwhile, numerous local not-for-profits had a chance to raise public awareness of their important contributions to the community. Fortunately, the board, volunteers and vendors of the GFM are dedicated to making this happen again this season, despite the lack of support from local government; but what a missed opportunity for the Village Board to show its commitment to an important volunteer effort to positively impact the health and quality of life in our village. Margaret Ann Cowden
J. Catherine February 23, 2012 at 01:24 PM
Do we support local farmers and the economy or wait until Claudia Helinski returns from Taiwan and purchase those goods. Just a thought!
John February 23, 2012 at 02:22 PM
Let see, fried chicken or carrots, fried chicken or beets, now there's a tough one. And of course why would we want to support Salamanders, the nerve of that person to speak against the market for the problems it created for her tax paying, employment providing, long standing village business.
betsy farrell February 23, 2012 at 09:30 PM
One comment that people opposed to the Market seem to keep repeating is that the vendors are not "tax paying, employment-providing" businesses. Do these naysayers actually know who the vendors are? They are local farmers and small-business owners who pay taxes like everyone else, and even create jobs when they can afford to! Why is this construed as an "us-vs-them" situation? Because of parking spaces? I heard the Market originally wanted to be in Mitchell Park but was rejected because it was a money making enterprise . . . so, the fried dough vendor and the corn cob roaster at the Maritime Festival are donating their services? Craziness!! Does Greenport have any other ideas for bringing more people to the Village, more people downtown, to spend money (at the Market and the shops!) and enjoy what the Village has to offer? There is so much data out there that shows the positive influences of Farmers Markets on villages, towns and cities across America. Greenport's reaction is so backwards, it's sad, and embarrassing.
John February 24, 2012 at 12:02 AM
Do they pay BID tax, do they pay Greenport Village tax, how many residents of the Village do they employ, how much did they contribute to the park debt, how much of the profit the vendors made come back to the Village, why is it the Villages responsibility to make the market viable. What is truly sad and embarrassing is an endeavor that whines when it asks for something for free that only a small minority benefits from and doesn't get it.
Jennifer Conway February 24, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Interesting "John", you are the only community member posting here without full disclosure of you full name. I've already told members of the Market Board, leave Greenport! Come to Southold! We'd be glad to have you! John, you are looking at the village of Greenport as some microcosm. The North Fork is an entire community that needs to support each other to survive. Maybe the profit that one of the vendors makes will hire a carpenter who lives in Greenport village to build her a new deck...and so on! See the bigger picture my friend.
Lara McNeil February 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM
I am so thankful we have so many wonderful market supporters who actually do "get it". I have personally really appreciated all of your calls and emails in the last few days. There is a bigger picture here that some narrow minds may never see. And thats OK, its not going to stop us.
John February 24, 2012 at 02:27 PM
Why are my comments or my opinion somehow invalidated because you do not know my last name? The organizer of the farmers market is well aware of my name and my opinion. For you, I will state my position again, I am in favor of a farmers market, but I don't believe the Village should be responsible to provide the venue for almost free rent or to inconvenience the business district by taking needed parking on their busiest day. You say I look at Greenport as a microcosm, I admit I do, we are an incorporated village autonomous from the rest of the NF in terms of government and debt service. Village government has a fiduciary duty to all the taxpayers of the village to allocate assets for the greatest possible return to service that debt. The farmers market org. was offered free space but refused, location became more important than concept. What business would not love to be in close proximity to the Park, or Front and Main Sts. and not have to pay for the privilege, so I really do not blame them for asking, but once they were refused, maybe they should take what was offered (Moores Lane, GHS, also suggested was the FD parking lot, or the land next to FML) grow, and maybe in time be in a position to pay an honest rent either to the village or a private property owner for their venue. Lastly, you say come to Southold, interesting would be Scott Russell's response to a request from the farmers market org. for Silversmiths Corner, for 20 weeks for a fee of $1000.
Eileen Rich February 24, 2012 at 04:34 PM
Do you have any idea how much every other farmers' market "pays" in New York State? How about just Long Island? DO SOME HOMEWORK!!! We are all very tired of the ignorant assumptions and accusations. We are not inventing the concept of having a farmers' market on municipal property.
pamela L. Paynter February 24, 2012 at 06:05 PM
High rents have caused so many empty storefronts-this looks like the death-knell for the Greenport Farmers Market-- What about trying to attract more vendors at last years fee than fewer at the new proposed rate?
Eileen Rich February 24, 2012 at 06:13 PM
Please rest assured that the Farmers' Market will be bigger and stronger year after year, including 2012.
Lea February 25, 2012 at 10:59 PM
Free? Who said anything about "free"? They just want "fair".
BillLongisland February 26, 2012 at 08:40 AM
This is what happens when Government "gets into the private business" stuff...smells like a "shakedown" that John Gotti would be proud of !


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