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TOWN OF HAMBURG'S PRICE FOR POLICE SERVICE SHOCKS BOARD

The Town of Hamburg intends to start charging the villages of Blasdell and Hamburg for police services, and that didn't go over very well Wednesday night with Blasdell officials, whose Police Department recently became independent of the town.

Mayor Ernest J. Jewett called a price list from the town "totally out of line" during a Wednesday night work session of the Village Board.

Thomas Best, officer in charge of the force and a retired Hamburg chief of detectives, told the trustees, "Use caution when dealing with these people (town officials). I don't know their intentions."

The town recently informed the villages of the hourly rates it will charge for police help, ranging from $52.23 an hour for a patrolman to $73.93 for a captain, based on salaries and fringe benefits.

Town Supervisor Patrick H. Hoak said the town had no choice, especially after Blasdell ended its contract, costing the town $135,000 it had already budgeted for.

There had been previous discussions, and the mayors seemed to understand the town's position, Hoak said.

"We had discussions and said the practice can't continue, it's not fair to town residents," because although village residents pay some town taxes, they don't pay for police, he said.

Jewett said he wants to meet with officials from the town and two villages before commenting further. Village of Hamburg Mayor Curt Herrmann, a town employee, did not return phone calls Tuesday and Wednesday seeking his comments.

The Village of Hamburg apparently has never paid for town police services.

Hoak said the charges would not apply in the case of an emergency, but only for extended services, such as an accident investigation or serious crime.

Best said he is in the process of making arrangements with the Sheriff's Department and State Police to use their services if necessary and also to call on Lackawanna police in case of emergency.

Also to be worked out is use of the town's jail.

Best reported that since going independent July 5, the village force has investigated 123 incidents, made five arrests and issued 90 traffic tickets, including two charges of driving while intoxicated.

The Village Board also:

Approved a six-month moratorium on additional new and used car sales and repair businesses after no comments were voiced during a public hearing.

Approved the appointment of part-time police officers Michael Rakieck, Vincent Tobia and Ronald Russell.

Heard Jewett report that reconstruction of Pearl Avenue will begin either Aug. 2 or Aug. 9 and take 30 to 60 days.

ternst@buffnews.com

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