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Hanover in dispute over pact with sheriff

HANOVER — The town continues to work with the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Department to finalize its next contract, and according to Hanover Town Councilman Bernard Feldmann, there isn’t much good news to report on that front.

Feldmann said he requested the price point for the contract be lowered, to which he received an email from the undersheriff saying the price can’t be reduced because the service coverages for the lower prices would be minimal.

Feldmann said there could be potential in just using the Sheriff’s Department for day and afternoon coverage only, though the contract would have to be accepted, and the undershiff was uncertain they’d want to accept that.

“I asked about doing a day and afternoon shift only then using zone coverage between the state police and the zone enforcer’s sheriff car at night,” he said. “I think we could probably keep pretty decent coverage doing that.”

The board faces the decision of which contract they’d like to work out, and town Supervisor Todd Johnson made his stance clear that he does not want to pay the full $497,000.

“We’re almost five months into it and we have nothing signed, sealed, or delivered,” said Johnson. “I am truly not in favor of paying $497,000 for a police contract for the service we get. We do have some excellent deputies that go above and beyond the call of duty and we do have some deputies that just patrol the Town and the Village.”

Johnson said his number one priority is public safety, but with that in mind, he doesn’t feel like the town is getting the bang for their buck. Johnson said going to $450,000 for the contract was discussed, but said they need to sit down with the sheriff and undersheriff to address concerns.

“One concern is that for years, why are we paying depreciation on the vehicle? Why do we need a new vehicle?” said Johnson. “Number two, we have to pay so much for fuel… Gas right now is $4.79 per gallon. I’m not paying for gas… Number three, what’s in the contract about providing the substation? Is there anything in the contract that says we have to provide a substation?”

The substation was a big issue for Johnson, as if there is no requirement for a substation in the contract, Johnson said they should be paying rent for the facilities being used.

“I have said that now for 11 years,” said Johnson. “They utilize our facility and they take it for granted. We have an extension office set aside for them, we also have a substation for them, a homing facility, and we’re paying utilities… If that is not in the contract, then they need to be paying rent and utilities, and I’ll set the fee for them. It costs us to house them.”

Johnson said at the end of the day, there will be policing in the Town, in spite of the concerns. Had the Town and the Village of Silver Creek not joined forces on the contract, Johnson said their total contract would be over $1 million.

“And for what?” said Johnson. “One car, town wide. Not one in the village and one in the town.”

Johnson said he’d like to pay the contract off right now, but the number is hard to swallow, and added that he’d provide dates to potentially meet with the sheriff and undersheriff.

“If they want our money, they’re going to meet on my terms,” said Johnson. “I’m not meeting on their terms.”

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