The Fire Islander on Feb. 25 sets sail for Ocean...

The Fire Islander on Feb. 25 sets sail for Ocean Beach from the Fire Island Ferries Terminal in Bay Shore. Credit: Newsday / Steve Pfost

After Fire Island Ferries and Ocean Beach Village failed to reach a resolution over contract negotiations, the ferry company announced Monday it will suspend ferry, freight and water taxi services to the village starting Tuesday.

Fire Island Ferries Inc. president Tim Mooney in a statement Monday said, "Service to Ocean Beach will remain suspended until such a time that the Village Board and FIFI agrees to a fair and mutually beneficial contract." The statement said all passenger ferries originally routed for Ocean Beach will arrive and depart from Seaview, and freight will be redirected to Ocean Bay Park.

In a letter to Ocean Beach residents, the village board of trustees called the ferry company’s choice to suspend services a "bazooka" and said they will continue working to reach an agreement.

The suspension will leave Ocean Beach with no other ferries to service residents and visitors.

The Bay Shore-based ferry company, which has serviced Ocean Beach for more than 70 years without interruption, operated on an expired lease over the last year as the village and company attempted to negotiate a new one. The lease granted the ferry company permission to use the village’s docks and ferry terminal.

The two entities reached an impasse in February, when Fire Island Ferries threatened to cut off service March 1, but they extended services through Monday in hopes of reaching an agreement. Negotiations broke down over the weekend, both entities confirmed.

In a statement to Newsday, Ocean Beach said the ferry company wanted to pay approximately 30% less in rent, while the village wanted the company to pay 5.5% more.

The ferry company said Ocean Beach’s proposal is "economically untenable."

The previous contract, which expired Dec. 31, 2020, showed that the ferry company paid the village a base pay of $490,000 with an annual 2% increase. Contract proposals weren't made available to Newsday.

Mooney said, "We realize that service interruptions caused by the Village will create hardships for numerous communities and businesses on Fire Island, and for this we apologize. It is our goal to come to a resolution with the Village as soon as possible."

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