Sag Harbor budget raises taxes, cuts 2 police officer jobs

View of the downtown area in Sag Harbor.

View of the downtown area in Sag Harbor. (Credit: Newsday)

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The Sag Harbor Village board Thursday approved, 4-0, an $8.26 million 2013-14 budget that cuts two police officers from the small village department and raises taxes by 3.89 percent, below the state tax cap.

One officer left the department in November and David Driscoll -- 2012 officer of the year -- will lose his job when the budget takes effect on June 1.

That will leave 10 officers on the village force.

Mayor Brian Gilbride said police costs in Sag Harbor continue to escalate, and that the union has been without a contract for nearly three years. Village officials have looked into having some or all of the police work done by other police agencies, but the issue remains unresolved. A special retirement plan offered to the police last year was not accepted by any officer.

Gilbride said the police budget accounts for more than half of the total village budget, and that he expects the issue to come up again in June, when the village holds its elections.

A typical officer earns more than $100,000 in salary -- which rises to about $180,000 when vacation, retirement and other costs are factored in, the mayor said.

The budget, police chief Thomas Fabiano said, "leaves me in a bind. After we lost the other officer in November, that created a scheduling problem. Losing this officer creates a greater problem. The fact that summer is coming amplifies it."

Fabiano said he expects overtime costs to increase, adding he doesn't think there will be enough part-time officers available to fill his needs. "Who would want to work here when the chance of getting hired is zero?"

A typical house in Sag Harbor worth $795,000 will pay $2,249 in village taxes, an increase of $84.27.

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