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Village of Alden leaders want to have an additional public information meeting and survey households to find out if existing police coverage should be changed.

Alden officials will discuss the upcoming survey during a village Police Committee meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in Village Hall.

Trustee Keith Sitzman said survey questions will be finalized, while figures from the Erie County Sheriff's Department regarding its possible continued coverage of the village will be reviewed.

Trustee Michael Manicki said Thursday night that village officials just want to get the best police service for the most affordable cost. Sheriff's deputies currently patrol the village for 16 hours per day.

The deputies are stationed out of the Village Hall and are provided a patrol car by the village.

"Some people think this is an effort to get rid of the sheriff's department," Manicki said. "It is not."

Sitzman said the survey may ask residents about several options the village is considering for police coverage. They include either the creation of a police department, sticking with coverage from the sheriff's department or having no police coverage at all.

Village officials said additional options may also be reviewed.

He said a survey is being done because state law prevents a public referendum on the issue.

"Preferably it will give us a majority opinion about what people want," Sitzman said of the survey. "We're trying to give them as many different options as possible."

The village's contract with the sheriff's department expired May 31. Sitzman said the village paid about $238,000 for annual coverage from the sheriff's department before the contract expired.

The village currently pays for police coverage on a monthly basis, which will be reviewed by the committee. Sitzman said the village is paying the county $1,100 more than it had in the recently expired contract.

"It's an explanation of costs," Sitzman said. "It was their breakdown about the different costs they charged us.

"We still have got some outstanding questions," Sitzman said.

Erie County Sheriff Patrick Gallivan said the county has to charge a set rate for any additional service given to municipalities that is not already given to other towns in the county.

"I can't tell them we will give the service for $39 an hour when it costs $43 (an hour)," Gallivan said.

He said the sheriff's department can be flexible on shift times or work assignments of deputies stationed in Alden.

"We can be flexible on some of the terms, but not the cost," Gallivan said.

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