The Suffolk County Legislature reversed itself on June 7 and will not transfer ownership of Sag Harbor’s Long Wharf to the village for $1 as it had proposed six months ago.
According to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman, the idea of unloading the wharf was initially floated by the County’s Department of Public Works. Mr. Schneiderman said the department had been unhappy about spending $100,000 a year on the pier’s maintenance and “not getting anything from it.” Under a long-standing agreement, the village has levied fees for the use of the dock.
Mr. Schneiderman said that while the reasons for going back on the proposed deal were unclear, a number of legislators just “weren’t ready to give it up.”
While he didn’t think the county expects to make money on its owning Long Wharf, officials hoped it could be self-sustaining. The legislator noted that “only the golf courses make money” for the county.
Mr. Schneiderman said that the status quo remains at the wharf. “The village will continue to collect revenue and the county will continue to pay,” he said.
The decision to accept the county’s offer had caused considerable hand-wringing among Sag Harbor officials, who expressed concern about the long-term costs of maintaining the structure. Ultimately, they agreed that the benefits of ownership outweighed the risks, particularly the threat of the pier’s falling into a developer’s hands.
At the time, Mayor Brian Gilbride said, “I don’t want to be the mayor who lost Long Wharf.”