Finalizing paperwork for FEMA’s main dock reimbursement and other non-FEMA projects – like the repair of the Browns Lane bulkhead as well as other village issues – was part of Bellport Village’s focus for this year.
“On top of our list is working on the main dock project and getting the payment information back to them so it’s approved by FEMA,” said mayor Ray Fell of the $2.6 million project. “The process goes back and forth with them and we want to make sure we have all their questions answered."
As with all FEMA projects, a municipality has to front the money once FEMA gives them the green light to proceed. The village did, via a bond anticipation note. When the total project is completed with FEMA approval, the village will be reimbursed by the government.
Fell explained the lengthy journey, one that involves attention to specific questions about materials and methods from the government.
Fell gave an example of the government scrutiny and questions.
“We started in 2015 with FEMA,” Fell explained. “After applying, they had to determine that the bulkhead was damaged enough due to [Hurricane] Sandy. Then the contractor did an investigative dive and saw the marine bores damaging the bulkhead; those marine animals came in because of the breach’s opening allowing ocean water to flow in. After going back and forth, FEMA agreed the bulkheads had to be replaced.
“So, we replaced the bulkheads with vinyl ones, which last longer and repel the bores, and suspect FEMA will approve them, he said."
In 2019, the project was authorized.
“Then we had to draw up plans and put the jobs out to bid,” he said. “We were awarded the bid last March; then COVID hit, then the supply chain was slowed where the job was supposed to be done by mid-April; it was done in June.”
Browns Lane bulkhead
“We have bids out and they will be back Feb. 1 to repair the bulkhead,” said Fell. “We’ll put in hydro separators to filter the waters from the bay; we have hydro separators off the main dock, part of the DEC insistence that the separators would filter the waters from the village before they drain into the bay. The water that comes into the village from our drain system dates back to the 1930s; the separators will take out contaminants.”
“On the main dock, the rock dock’s southern and eastern exposure has to be refaced; the vinyl bulkhead on the outside and has to be repaired,” Fell said.
Bids were to be opened on Feb 1. As of Monday, “we had eight contractors pick up bid specs, but don’t know how many will put a bid in.”
As Fell says, if you rent, you have to register your home. “There’s a 16-day rental requirement,” he said. “And then you would have to wait another 16 days to rent again.”
Village Hall repairs
The Village Hall roof must be repaired as well as shingle work on the 1930s building.
Suspended grants will be pushed
According to Fell, the village will revisit grants awarded from the state, one for $460,000, another for $480,000, suspended because of COVID.
“It involved Station Road repaving and sidewalk repair. We want to make sure that we’re still getting those grants,” Fell said. “We haven’t heard that they’ve been discontinued and are hoping they will be released again over the next couple of months.”
Kudos to business owners
Fell gave kudos to all the Bellport businesses that stepped up and followed COVID regulations. “They followed the protocols and created a safe environment,” Fell said. “All the residents in Bellport appreciate their efforts to keep things safe.