The Village News: Editorials

October 4, 2021

What is the Bellport Village Board Afraid Of?

EditorialWhen, in response to COVID-19, the Village Board started holding Village Board Meetings over ZOOM, I applauded it. We could all attend Village Board meetings safely in spite of COVID-19.

It would have been nice if their motivation had been to provide “transparency,” but I don’t think it was. I think they did it because Albany dragged them kicking and screaming into online meetings and they had no choice. The proof is that as soon as Albany dropped the online meetings requirement, the Village Board couldn’t drop holding their meetings over ZOOM fast enough and forced those interested in Village Board Meetings to gather as a group, indoors, in a much less safe environment.

I don’t know if you’ve looked lately, but the COVID-19 numbers in this area aren’t pretty. For almost two years we’ve been watching our local numbers so that we could report them here on and we don’t like the trend we’re starting to see develop. The numbers below are the total number of reported cases since March 20, 2020.

  Bellport Village North Bellport Brookhaven Hamlet East Patchogue Town of Brookhaven
May 1, 2021 197 1,737 398 2,913 56,892
June 1, 2021 200 1,785  410 3,005 58,173
July 3, 2021 200 1,803  411 3,017 58,499
August 1, 2021 202  1,833 416 3,055 59,447
September 4, 2021 214   1,946 429 3,247 64,297
September 25, 2021 225 2,036  446 3,417 68,086

The point is, we don’t think this is the time for the Bellport Village Board to be relaxing its COVID-19 vigilance. Why not hold Village Board Meetings and Work Sessions in person, in the Community Center, AND over ZOOM? Why are they mutually exclusive? Shouldn’t the Board’s goal be to have more people attend their meetings without added risk?

The Village Board regularly talks about “transparency,” but seldom does anything about it. Wouldn’t this be a great time to make it easier and SAFER for Village Residents to involve themselves in Village Government? The Village Board already knows how to conduct their meetings over ZOOM, they have the equipment, and it wouldn’t cost anything. All they have to do is prop their smart phones up in front of themselves and they’d be ready to go.

In the summer months Village Board Meetings are moved to Saturday mornings to accommodate summer residents. Why not continue to have Village Board Meetings over ZOOM to accommodate, not only the non-year-round residents, but also residents who are elderly, handicapped, work evenings, are sick, don’t have transportation, because of bad weather, and people who would need childcare to be able to attend Village Board Meetings. Bottom line, why does the Village Board want fewer residents to be able to attend Village Board Meetings rather than more?



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Larry Sribnick

Larry Sribnick