Sag Harbor Village will soon have a new and expensive maintenance responsibility when it takes over ownership of Long Wharf from the county. Given the financial crisis climate, Suffolk officials have been looking for ways to shed costs. So they offered the 1,000-foot-long pier to the village for $1, threatening to sell it to the highest bidder if the village didn’t pony up. It wasn’t surprising that the village trustees voted, albeit with some grumbling, last week to go ahead with the deal. Sag Harbor Mayor Brian Gilbride has proposed putting money into a reserved fund to meet anticipated costs.
Fees to dock at the wharf bring about $90,000 to the village each year. It has been responsible for its routine upkeep, while the county, as owner, has shouldered major repairs, about $1 million in the last decade. That’s not a very high price tag. But roughly $340,000 of new work will be needed soon, according to the county.
It is disappointing that the county, which is glad to take a considerable share of sales tax receipts away from the South Fork, would be so parsimonious when it comes to giving some money back. Legislator Jay Schneiderman, whose office is on Washington Street in Sag Harbor, not far from the wharf, said his efforts to win money for its repair were met with resistance from UpIsland lawmakers. Meanwhile, he said, the East End is shortchanged by having to pay about $3 million toward county police spending.
If Suffolk continues to rid itself of holdings out east, as well as to hold back money that rightfully should come this way, we wonder if renewed calls for a breakaway Peconic County will be far behind.