Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone says the county will funnel additional money to East End town and village police departments over the next three years.
Suffolk has budgeted $7.6 million for 2015 in sales tax distribution, $1 million more than in 2014. Bellone is expected to announce Wednesday that he will commit to budgeting $8.6 million in 2016 and $9.6 million in 2017.
"For the first time in a long time, we are seeing a fair distribution of sales tax for police services across the county," said Legis. Jay Schneiderman (I-Montauk).
East End lawmakers have complained for several years that the county's distribution of sales tax money has shortchanged their police departments. The Suffolk County Police District covers only the five western towns. The county also provides services to the towns and villages for major crimes such as homicides.
Spokesman Justin Meyers said Bellone "has created a fair plan in order to move Suffolk forward in a fair and equitable way."
However, he would not provide specifics on how Bellone planned to make up for any shortfalls created by the additional law enforcement spending on the East End.
Minority Leader Legis. Kevin J. McCaffrey (R-Lindenhurst) noted the money will also benefit village police departments, such as Amityville Village.
"In all fairness, this is something we should be doing and I support," he said.
Schneiderman had introduced a bill in the Suffolk County Legislature to tie the sales tax distribution to population, but it failed to make it out of the legislative committee.