HANOVER - Necessary services don't always come cheap. The Hanover Town Board came to realize this about police coverage after a recent meeting with Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace.
Councilman Fritz Seegert said the meeting with Gerace was illuminating because he was able to see a breakdown of costs.
"When the costs are all broken down you see how everything adds up," he said. "... It was a good discussion. We are trying to keep costs down but it is something we have to have."
Seegert said the $400,000 price tag for a one-year contract "is what it is," and suggested only going for a one-year contract.
Supervisor Todd Johnson agreed, saying with a 3-year contract there is an assumed increase and if certain changes are made, for instance in retirements, there could be a smaller increase year to year.
Johnson also said he learned things from the discussion with the sheriff. For instance, that positions are bid on each year in the sheriff's union. He said he was told Hanover is a desirable post and tends to attract more senior deputies, who are paid at higher rates.
However, Johnson said when looking at the breakdown of costs, wages are a small percentage of the entire cost.
Johnson added that a one-year contract would give the town time to discuss a combined contract with the village of Silver Creek.
Councilman Kevin O'Connell also agreed saying a one-year contract gives the town time to look at the future. Board members said they are not looking into different policing options but want to examine data and costs and see what meets the needs of the town and is affordable.
Resident Anna Frederickson said she has observed "less personal police service" since the sheriff's took over policing the village of Silver Creek in June and does not believe "quality of life issues are being addressed." She expressed concern that a combined sheriff's contract with the village and town could mean a "further downgrade" in police service.
The board took no action on the contract at the meeting.
A public hearing was held for Local Law No. 2 of 2013 which would override the tax levy cap. There were no comments from the public and the one-year law was passed.
The board also set a public hearing for their next meeting on Oct. 28 at 7:35 p.m. for renewal of fire district contracts. Fire contracts to be renewed include Hanover Center, Sunset Bay and Perrysburg.
The preliminary budget was also approved with salaries set at $17,500 for the supervisor, $17,687 for each of the two justices, $6,250 for each of the six councilmen, $56,806 for the highway superintendent and $51,844 for the town clerk. Budget Officer Elmar Kiefer said the town has put together a budget with an increase at the tax levy limit of 1.66 percent, despite challenges with increases in utilities, health insurance and other costs.
The preliminary budget can be reviewed in the clerk's office. A public hearing was set for the budget on Oct. 28 at 7:45 p.m.
Johnson also reported the town was approved for $2,600 in NYSERDA rebates for the lighting project at the town hall. The total cost of the project is $3,102 and the town has 90 days to act on the rebates.
Johnson also reported a leak in the town hall roof was fixed and once down spouts arrive the problem will be completely resolved.
County Legislator George Borrello reported he was disappointed the Army Corps of Engineers brigadier general had to cancel her visit due to the government shutdown but he has been in contact with Rep. Tom Reed's office and has been assured the visit will be rescheduled as soon as possible.
Highway Superintendent Steve D'Angelo reported needing a couple more weeks of good weather to complete paving and then has said he will assist the village of Forestville with a drainage project at the legion.
The board will hold its regular meeting Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. with a workshop at 6:30 p.m.