Town Board absences lead to delay on Blues Festival vote

JOHN NEELY FILE PHOTO | Performers at the 2010 festival.

The Riverhead Town Board held off on voting to approve the 2012 Riverhead Blues Festival permit application Wednesday at the request of Councilwoman Jodi Giglio, who wanted to discuss it with the full Town Board.

Two board members were absent at Wednesday’s meeting in Town Hall, councilmen George Gabrielsen and John Dunleavy, which meant that resolutions needed a unanimous vote of the three members present in order to pass.

Vince Tria, the treasure of the Vail-Leavitt Music Hall, which runs the festival as a fundraiser for their organization, submitted the application to the town clerk’s office and said he expected it to be voted on at Wednesday’s meeting.

Town Attorney Bob Kozakiewicz also told the News-Review Tuesday that he was told to prepare a resolution for the Wednesday meeting.

But Ms. Giglio said after the meeting that she had not seen the application or the resolution and wanted to discuss it with a full board before casting a vote.

Vail-Leavitt, which runs a downtown nonprofit theater by the same name, has yet to provide insurance for the festival, which will cost about $3,000, Mr. Tria said. Mr. Kozakiewicz said the town was planning to the group a waiver on the requirement that insurance be provided 120 days before the event. Insurance would still be required prior to the event, just not 120 prior.

Ms. Giglio said she abstained on the resolutions approving both the Riverhead Country Fair and the Polish Town Fair and Festival last year because they did not have their insurance settled at the time the Town Board was voting on the resolution to approve the festivals.

It was unclear when the board would discuss the issue next.

“I support it; I love it,” Supervisor Sean Walter said of the Blues Fesitval as Ms. Giglio was speaking with a reporter.

The Blues Festival had been an annual event until last year, when Vail-Leavitt cancelled it because theater officials were worried it would run into opposition, as had happened in 2010 when Business Improvement District and the Chamber of Commerce leaders sought to take over management of the event with the support, at the time, of Mr. Walter.

Those groups later relented and Vail-Leavitt held the festival in 2010.

Mr. Tria met with the Town Board and BID representatives at a Jan. 5 Town Board work session, where everyone agreed they wanted to see Vail-Leavitt hold the festival this year.

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