The Sag Harbor Village Board did the right thing Tuesday night when it took back, in part, charges levied against two non-profits — the Sag Harbor American Music Festival and the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce — for overtime services for their fall events.
In the last decade, as other villages languished, dominated by first floor offices spaces and devoid of special events, the natural mix of businesses on Main Street, thriving arts and culture, a government that supports economic development, and dedicated groups of emergency service providers, volunteers and non-profits have made Sag Harbor truly special. Quickly, and especially after the recession, neighboring villages looked to aspects of Sag Harbor — including its events — and partnered with local groups to support vibrant downtowns in a more dynamic way.
It feels like a broken record to state that Sag Harbor has been in the midst of great change. But events like HarborFest, HarborFrost, the Sag Harbor American Music Festival, live music at Marine Park and the American Legion, the Sag Harbor Yacht Club fireworks and our parades and remembrances give residents of this village, and beyond, free moments where we can still come together as a community despite all those changes.
It is not unreasonable for the village to explore creating fees to help it afford to allow these events to continue. Anyone paying attention to the village budget during the last few years understands that the trustees have a heavy lift each year trying to accommodate its residents with services, while avoiding large tax increases. That said, the village must follow its own rules and not be arbitrary — there needs to be a clear standard for everyone, and we are glad to see the board moving forward in setting this new standard in a public, and transparent way.