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Apr 18, 2012 6:15 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Sagaponack Will Get Dedicated Police Patrol In Summer

Apr 18, 2012 10:07 AM

The Southampton Town Police Department will dedicate a squad car and officer to patrolling Sagaponack Village exclusively 16 hours per day starting in May, as part of an amended inter-municipal agreement between the town and the village.

The Town Police will assign an officer to the village for two consecutive shifts, from 8 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week, between May 15 and September 15.

Southampton Town Police Chief William Wilson had told the Sagaponack Village Board in spring 2011, shortly after taking over the department, that he planned to assign an officer to the village in the summers. But staffing shortages and financial wrangling prevented the sector from being patrolled as much as he had initially planned.

“We had a verbal agreement last year that wasn’t worth the paper it wasn’t printed on,” Sagaponack Village Mayor Donald Louchheim said. “So we decided to get it on paper this year.”

Sagaponack comprises just 6 square miles, much of it farmland, and the majority of its residents live there part-time. But the affluent municipality, with the highest real estate values in the nation, contributes some $2.2 million in police protection taxes to the town’s coffers and in recent years has discussed the possibility of creating a constabulary to patrol its boundaries rather than continuing its contract with the town, as the village of West Hampton Dunes did shortly after it incorporated in the 1990s. Sagaponack’s departure would bleed the police fund of more than 10 percent of its overall revenues.

Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst said the new agreement more or less formalizes the arrangement that has been intended ever since the town created a new sector for the village in 2010 and began stationing a squad car at Village Hall, allowing officers to change shifts without returning to police headquarters in Hampton Bays.

Ms. Throne-Holst said this week that dedicating the officer will not have an additional cost impact on the town.

Village Approves Budget

The Sagaponack Village Board approved the village’s 2012-13 operating budget on Monday evening. The $708,059 budget increases spending by $45,000 but will keep the tax rate for village residents flat. The mayor said the village expects to see its budget remain essentially flat for the foreseeable future.

“We’re still under budget on spending and over budget on revenues,” Mayor Louchheim said. “And we will stay that way.”

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