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Suffolk County metes out grants for local police

Southampton Town has hired policing experts to study

Southampton Town has hired policing experts to study its police department. Photo Credit: Randee Daddona

Suffolk County will pay Northport Village an extra $57,300 to support its police department and public safety in 2015, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone announced Tuesday.

It's one of 14 villages and five East End towns that next year will receive a portion of $1 million the county has allocated for municipalities with their own police forces. Bellone announced the awards Tuesday in several villages, including Northport's Village Hall.

Awards range from $295,000 for the Town of Southampton to $300 for the Village of Saltaire.

Earlier this month, Bellone said he wanted to give municipalities a higher proportion of sales tax -- $6 million more than they currently receive -- for public safety in the next three years.

His budget proposals for 2016 and 2017 would provide an additional $2 million and $3 million, respectively, to the municipalities. The county legislature would have to approve those increases each year as part of the budget process; it already did so for the 2015 funding.

Northport would receive a total $343,800 boost in funding for its police force over the next three years.

"It's expensive to run a police department," Mayor George Doll said. "We count on the county monies we have been getting, and we really appreciate the extra money. It comes at a very opportune time, because we are working on our budget right now."

Doll said the 2015 increase alone amounts to roughly half a percent of the village's total budget. That's money that "we will not have to tax for" now, he said.

Bellone described the funding announcement as a "fair and equitable" change that will give each municipality a 15 percent increase in the funding they receive from the county in 2015.

"It's important when we're talking about public safety resources that we're doing what we need to do at the county level to support villages and towns who are operating their police forces," he said.

The revenue sharing won't necessarily stop after three years, Bellone said. Since government finances and revenue fluctuate, Suffolk County can later assess whether to renew the funding beyond 2017, and at what level.

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