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Village, Town Part Ways on Summer Concerts

Instead of paying $350 fee per event on town-owned Memorial Park, village officials opt to move free concerts to village-owned Harborfront Park at Village Center.

Port Jefferson Village will end its partnership with Brookhaven Town this year for its Thursday night concert series after village officials scorned the town for no longer waiving a $350-per-event fee for the use of town-owned Memorial Park.

The five-concert series, set to kick off on June 28 with students from the , will instead be played at at the , Mayor Margot Garant said on Tuesday morning.

"I don't really have a preference where we have it," she said. "I love Harborfront Park, and I know we've traditionally had it across the way on the Village Green forever. But every government agency is dumping additional costs on down to us. I'm not going to write a check for using that grassy knoll over there. I've had it."

Village Trustees discussed the topic Monday night at its board meeting and Garant said she made the decision on Tuesday morning.

In previous years the village had paid an administrative fee of $350 to Brookhaven to file their plans in town hall, and because the town waived the fees, concerts were considered co-sponsored by the town. But not this year.

"They won't be a co-sponsor this year," said Garant, who added that the change in venue could be a blessing in disguise. 

"It gets very busy in front of ," she added. "With all the traffic, that can be a dangerous place to cross the street."

During Monday night's discussion, the Village Board agreed that despite a request from the Village Business Improvement District to increase the number of summer concerts, the current offering of five is enough during an already busy summer season.

"They were hot on it" said Trustee Bruce D'Ambro, referring to members of the BID meeting he attended. "But I'm not sure if they're taking other things into account."

BID President Tom Schafer said Tuesday afternoon that the proposal was meant to "enhance" the board's current concert series. And that while the summer as a whole may be busy season in Port Jefferson, Thursday nights are another story than Saturday afternoons.

"As the Business Improvement District we're trying to improve business in the district, and we've recognized the need for business on Thursday," said Schafer, owner of and . "The weekend is busy. We figured this would be another draw to come down to the village."

The board agreed with Garant, who said "the summer isn't the time where we need more events. We're maxed out."

Councilman Steve Fiore-Roesnfield and Brookhaven Town Spokesman Jack Krieger did not return requests for comment.

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