Mayor Paul Pontieri and his administration have set goals for 2021, including restoring Main Street businesses and the Patchogue Theatre for Performing Arts to pre-COVID times, working with the county to complete the South Patchogoue Sewer project and maintaining a taxpayer-friendly budget.
“These are our goals more than resolutions. Resolutions you can give up on; goals you have to make,” Pontieri said, eager to leave 2020 behind.
Below are goals compiled by village attorney Brian Egan, Pontieri and deputy mayor Jack Krieger:
Patchogue Theatre closed its doors back in April of last year, also letting staff go. They rehired two staffers later that same month, but didn’t resume programming until their first event back with “Music Under the Marquee” in August. Currently, programming is limited and mostly virtual.
The plan to hook up about 500 south Patchogue homes is currently in county and state hands, Pontieri said.
According to Legis. Rob Calarco (D-Patchogue), the project was supposed to break ground last year, but was held back due to being over budget. RFPs have now been divided into four and the project is expected to break ground later this year. RFPs will be awarded in the late winter, early spring, he said.
The Department of Environmental Conservation and the Army Corps of Engineers, Pontieri added, are currently finishing up approvals for the boardwalk and living shoreline. All funding is still in place.
Last month, The Long Island Advance announced the possibility of utilizing the West Main Street National Grid natural gas property site located across from the Blue Point Brewing Co. for potential employee parking.
Currently in conversation with National Grid, Pontieri said he hopes the site can serve as employee parking in the village sooner than the previously discussed parking garage, to be built behind the Suffolk County Sixth District Court. The intention would be to pave it and keep it gated so that employees can be shuttled back and forth, freeing up prime downtown spaces.
The last and final goal, Pontieri said, will be the toughest.
“How we are going to make it right with the taxpayers?” he said, referencing the cuts in state aid. “This is why we have reserves to help us balance it out. It isn’t going to cover it all, but it will help.”
The village currently has about $3.5 million in reserves. Pontieri estimated deficits including the 20 percent taken from state aide, highway aid, and about a quarter-million lost in parking revenue as well as losses in sewer funds.
“It puts us in a position to leave positions vacant,” he added, also noting how important recreation will become during the summer months. “That will be our give-back to the community. We have an average [resident] age of 34-35-36. That’s a lot of young kids looking forward to recreation in the summer that was lost during the school year, and that is really going to be a challenge.”
The budget will be released sometime in April.