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Electric Upgrades at Mitchell Park Marina's East Pier Spark Concerns

Some residents feel the price would be too high.

A proposal to install new electric at the East Pier in Greenport has some tempers flaring.

At Monday's Greenport Village Board meeting, concerns were raised about a proposal to install electric upgrades at the East Pier at Mitchell Park Marina.

Greenport-based commercial fisherman Sidney Smith addressed the board and said the proposed projected cost of over $300,000 would be too high. 

"You want to spend all this money to put electric down at the dock for the yachts," Smith said.

He added that when he ties up in Newport, Rhode Island, no such electric exists. "It all sounds nice but it's not realistic," he said. "That investment of money, you will never get it back in 15 years."

Smith also said he did not believe enough yachts would come to generate the profits necessary to warrant the expense. "Saying you'll get four mega yachts at the same time for 30 days? You'd be better off putting your money on the roulette table," he said.

Wealthy yacht owners, Smith continued, will come and leave quickly. "There's not enough here for them to do. You want to spend $300,000 for a couple of outlets -- when all these other things around the village need to be repaired?"

Greenport Village Mayor David Nyce said while he appreciated Smith's "insights" into the situation at Newport, Greenport Village Administrator Dave Abatelli, Mitchell Marina manager Jeff Goubeaud, Trustee David Murray and he had spent a great amount of time working on the issue closely and discussing Sag Harbor and the yachts that dock there.

"They have done revenue anticipation of one or two of those boats staying for the summer and our anticipation says that we will be able to pay back the cost in a short time," Nyce said.

"The Catch-22 with these mega yachts is that they bring in a great deal of money," Nyce said. Goubeaud, Nyce said, "has done his research. I'm comfortable we will realize a return on that investment."

"It's still the taxpayers' money," Smith said.

Nyce said the electric upgrade at the East Pier has been discussed for decades. 

At the meeting, the board authorized borrowing up to $400,000 for the project. "Expenses are expected to be recouped over a short span of years by increased revenue from the larger boats for whom the service is provided," Nyce said.

The board voted unanimously but Trustee Mary Bess Phillips had some questions to ensure the $400,000 indebtedness cost would be paid by increased revenues. Phillips asked if line items would be created.

"Any monies that come in will go nowhere but into this electrical work," Nyce said.

Phillips said down the road she'd like to see a resolution clarifying line items, especially since the marina budget has been absorbed into the village's general fund.

"Shortfalls," Phillips said, would still need to be met out of taxpayers' pockets. "I'll be watching," she said.

"This project has been in discussion for a period of time," Phillips added after the meeting. "Mitchell Marina was created to be an economic generator for the village. In moving forward to create other revenue sources for the marina, there is a need for this type of service for these vessels. My concern is that the borrowing is re-paid and does not become a debt in limbo years from now."

What do you think about the Village of Greenport installing new electric at East Pier? Is it a sound investment? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

JOMAC February 26, 2013 at 10:48 PM
What about installing adequate electric so that the famed FDNY Fireboat "FireFighter" can operate fully as a floating Museum and Tourist Attraction?
fisherman February 27, 2013 at 09:41 PM
what about giving electric to a commercial boat thats paid ent for 16 years and has put his own in, where it spends over 200 thousand on maintance and fuel here, im not againts a fireboat in town but nit at thew railroad dock, there are numerous live electric wires everywhere, either for people on foot there or in the water, the problem is electrolysis.I been dealing with it there for a long time i have 60 large zincs on a boat there and have to replace ever year. Had to changeed them to bolt on in case could not be hauled out. The home work was notdone on thios fireboat very well. I understand it was build in the thirtys and has not been hauled out in 10 years. I give it a year and a half tops and there will be a big problem, this is far more then a few volunteers can handle the dock should remain a working dock and not be mixed with tourist attractions, that what the big dock in the marina is for and why wont they want it there right down town.I knew there might be some trouble when they fly the greenport flag higher then the american flag , thats a non no in the marine world
fisherman February 27, 2013 at 09:46 PM
on the subject of the electric , also they get the information from the captains who run these yachts they would like it!!! of course so they dont have to hear the noise of a generator when they check the engine room tnhe owners dont mind and when you can afford a 50 million dollar yacht you are not worried about what the generator burns for fuel there are no real or commitments there will be that much use and what the electric is free!!! well maybe i put satellite color tvs in ever bunk on the boat because the crew wanted it
fisherman February 27, 2013 at 10:49 PM
The only thing i learned this week thatr now i know why there are never manybpeople at a village meeting.You are aloowed to ask a question but there will bw noe one to answer the trustees all just look at you like you have three heads. The mayor kepts looking at his watch like he does not have time for this you have all you can do to keep control and tell him what hes doing is so so unprofessional, never mind loosing control and drag him over the table.When the residents are done comment time is closed and only he the mayor only answers the questions he wrote down to answer not all of them just what he thinks is important, must be some kind of new goverment makes a resident feel very welcome!!!
John February 28, 2013 at 12:24 AM
The Mayor with the help and encouragement of Mary Bess Phillips came up with this plan to stifle any opposition to the Mayor's grand plan for Greenport. It's unfortunate that more people do not attend the meetings, if they did, maybe they would realize Nyce and Phillips is not the gift some people think.You should keep it in mind when you vote on March 19th
William Swiskey sr February 28, 2013 at 02:25 AM
This Mayor also moved the time of the meetings to 6PM from 7PM at which time attendence dropped significantly. I guess the mayor never held job where you didn't get off until 5:30 or 6:oclock. His decision the first in village history (over 150 years ) not to answer questions directly also made it impossible to challenge some of his more questionable answers.

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