Public Safety votes to continue several grants

MAYVILLE – The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department continues to secure state funding.

During a Public Safety Committee meeting on Wednesday, Undersheriff Charles Holder detailed the county’s success with Operation Stonegarden and explained various resolutions to secure state funding that required committee approval.

The $334,714 the county receives from the state for further implementation of Operation Stonegarden is used for equipment and to pay for overtime wages of officers patrolling the border at the north end of the county, specifically on Lake Erie. No county funds are utilized for this program.

The $109,894 grant for bomb detection operations and the $14,801 grant for canine explosion detection are also entirely state funded.

The port security grant will be used to update inoperable mobile radio equipment, according to Holder. The grant totaled $542,490, and will not require additional county funds.

PJ Wendel, R-Lakewood, noted that there was “close to $1 million” in grants on the table.

“If (funding) ceases, we will have no equipment budget,” Holder said. “We have been so successful with grants – if we don’t go after them, some other county will.”

The resolution regarding the revised court system security contract details that the contract has been updated – the New York State Unified Court System Eighth Judicial District will pay the county sheriff’s department roughly $748,042 for court security services from April 1, 2013, to March 31, 2014.

According to Wendel, the county stands to benefit close to $67,000 from the adjusted contract.

The committee also approved a resolution to authorize the acceptance of a state grant for the Crimes Against Revenue Program. The resolution directed the County Executive, Vince Horrigan, to execute agreements with the state to obtain the funds and authorized the director of finance to make increases in the 2014 budget: $28,000 for personal services for the District Attorney, $4,620 for the contractual District Attorney agreement and $17,380 for employee benefits.

According to District Attorney David Foley, his office applied for the $100,000 grant from the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance pursuant to its Crimes Against Revenue Program for the period of July 1, 2014 through June 30, 2015.

The program is aimed at detecting, investigating, prosecuting and deterring crimes that involve individuals failing to pay sales tax, be it from tobacco, liquor or other products.

“There could be more (revenue crime) than we think there is,” Foley said. “We need to uncover it.”

Foley asked to combine funds to make an assistant district attorney position and a part-time revenue crimes investigator position.

The program does not utilize county funds and any staff positions created and funded by the state program will not be continued if the program is abolished.

All resolutions were approved by the committee.