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Larger turnout for earlier Patchogue Village meeting

In addition to the mayor's office it houses,

In addition to the mayor's office it houses, Patchogue Village Hall, located at 14 Baker St., is home to the municipality's Justice Court and Traffic Violations Bureau. (April 20, 2012) Credit: Carl Corry

More residents than usual attended Patchogue Village’s board of trustees meeting Monday night, which started 90 minutes earlier than usual in a bid to increase attendance, but most in the crowd were familiar faces who come intermittently.

Several trustees were positive about the increased turnout, but cautioned it was the first meeting to start at 6 p.m. instead of 7:30 p.m. and more time is needed to gauge whether the newly adopted resolution will be effective.

“It was a better turnout than I expected, but we’ll see over time,” village Mayor Paul Pontieri said after the meeting.

In November, the board passed a resolution by a 5-1 vote to switch the meeting start times, hoping to attract more residents on their way home from work.

“It was bigger than I thought. Six p.m. just may work out well,” trustee Joseph Keyes said. “I was pleasantly surprised.”

But trustee Gerard Crean urged patience.

“It’s too early too tell. By April, we’ll have a better understanding and be able to gauge,” he said. “It’s always good to see a crowd, but there weren’t a lot of new faces.”

Many times turnout is issue-driven, he added.

More than 20 people attended Monday night, compared with a regular crowd of 12 to 20. Some residents say earlier meeting times will keep others away.

“Most people that commute don’t get home from work until 6 p.m. because of horrific traffic and scheduling,” resident Laureen Prendergast said in November, shortly after the resolution was adopted.

The board is expected to continue the early start times for at least a few months. If attendance doesn’t increase, they plan to go back to meeting at 7:30 p.m.

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