Funding sources for Old Brookville police could fall like dominoes now that a second village has indicated it may break from the department if it can't restructure what it pays.
Upper Brookville made its announcement last week, days after Muttontown officials voted not to renew the police contract expiring May 31. Upper Brookville plans a special trustees meeting about the issue April 21.
Muttontown leaders objected to paying nearly $3 million -- more than a quarter of department costs -- yet having just an equal say with its six village partners, several of which pay less than half that amount.
The loss of Muttontown's money was cited as the "tipping point" in a report Upper Brookville Mayor Terry Thielen addressed to residents.
"We anticipate that the Department will likely face a significant budget gap," she wrote. "The burden of filling that gap will fall on the residents of the remaining villages, including Upper Brookville."
Under the current system, Upper Brookville pays about 16 percent of total police costs. But much like Muttontown, trustees cited projections showing officer salaries and benefits taking a larger portion of its budget.
In 2011, Upper Brookville will pay $1.8 million of its $3.1 million total village budget for the Old Brookville Police Department.
The department, formed 62 years ago, also covers the North Shore villages of Brookville, Mill Neck, Matinecock and Cove Neck. It employs 40 officers, and in 2011-2012 projects a budget of $12.5 million, nearly all in personnel costs and benefits.
The Muttontown village board's decision to form its own force effective June 1 has brought calls for a referendum overturning it, or a lawsuit.
Upper Brookville, however, said it would contract with another agency, possibly Nassau County, should the contribution system to Old Brookville police not be adjusted by then.
Thielen did not return a call Thursday, but in her letter she said she was working toward a resolution by the current police contract's expiration.
"In any case," she wrote, "we assure you that there will be no interruption in police services."
Chris Sweeney, president of Old Brookville's police union, said Muttontown's move would cost 12 officers their jobs, and that Upper Brookville's concerns complicated the situation. He has offered to re-open the union contract to reduce labor costs. The contract doesn't expire for a year.