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Chautauqua County lawmakers trim enhanced police services

MAYVILLE – The contract to have the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office provide enhanced police services in the Village of Silver Creek was modified at Wednesday’s meeting of the County Legislature.

The issue brought about a lengthy discussion about the service. Sheriff’s deputies started policing the village June 1 after Mayor Nick Piccolo said his department could not cover round-the clock shifts any longer.

Piccolo had already received a proposal from the sheriff but had hoped to wait until July to have to bring in the enhanced services.

Addressing the legislators Wednesday, Piccolo said that “good, positive things have happened” since the deputies started patrols in the village.

Piccolo was disappointed by Wednesday’s action, which authorizes the contract with the Sheriff’s Office to continue only through Dec. 31. Piccolo said the original proposal was for a contract through December 2014.

The seven months time was a compromise for legislators, who said they wanted more details about the costs of the contract as well as what would happen if the costs in Silver Creek should exceed the payments. The contract calls for quarterly payments of $91,315.

Legislator George Borrello R-Sunset Bay, spoke strongly in favor of the contract and told the lawmakers that the two contracts in Silver Creek and the Town of Hanover bring in more money than any other enhanced police services in the county.

The Town of Hanover has paid for enhanced police services for more than 20 years. At their regular meeting Monday, town council members scrutinized the sheriff’s numbers for increases and vowed to talk with the village to see if an agreement could be reached to reduce law enforcement prices for both communities.

The contract will require action by the Silver Creek Village Board and is expected to be on its agenda for Monday’s regular meeting.

In another matter, several pre-filed resolutions on salaries of elected county officials were removed from the agenda after they had been defeated in committee meetings earlier this month.

An emergency resolution authorizing a payment of $50,000 to the estate of the late Janice Slaton, who worked in the public defender’s office, was authorized.

Legislator William Coughlin, D-Fredonia, recused himself from voting on the motion. Slaton had reportedly filed a suit against the county before her death.

The legislators defeated a motion to appoint Kathleen Geise of Fredonia to the Chautauqua County Industrial Development Agency.

Some legislators questioned the appointment since her husband Mark Geise is the assistant to the director of planning and development for the county. The post was formerly held by an active labor leader.