Hanover looks to village to reduce policing cost

HANOVER – The Hanover Town Board was shocked at the increases proposed for police coverage at the town board meeting Monday.

Councilman Fritz Seegert brought the figures to the board to look over. He explained for the past three years there has been a 2.2 percent increase per year in the cost of police coverage from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office.

He said he has asked Sheriff Joseph Gerace for reasons why the cost of the service is projected to jump 6 and 7 percent in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

The town currently pays $325,860 for coverage, which does not include one shift in the winter months. The increases equate to around $20,000 each year.

“Really soon we will be a million-dollar town for police coverage – between what the town pays, what the village is going to pay, the fuel cost and the extra for them to take over the school resource officer program. It is going to cost a million very soon,” Supervisor Todd Johnson said.

He suggested sitting down with the village of Silver Creek to discuss how police services could be shared to both the municipalities advantage.

“I think we need to sit down with the village of Silver Creek to see what we can do for the whole town and see if we couldn’t get a joint contract. We need to see if we can do something where both the town and the village benefit. I’m sure with some data from the sheriff’s, we could see when we could use dual shifts and when only one car would be needed for the whole town,” Johnson added.

Councilman Wayne Ashley said the village of Forestville, who does not currently pay for enhanced police coverage, should also be included in the discussion for policing the entire town.

Silver Creek Mayor Nick Piccolo said the village board had discussed having a conversation with the town about the possibility of sharing police coverage and is open to meeting with the town to discuss it.

The town still has time before its contract with the sheriff’s office expires. Silver Creek’s preliminary agreement with the sheriff’s office will be put to a vote by the county legislature on Wednesday.

The next Hanover Town Board meeting will be held July 8.

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