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Salaries Spike Budget Numbers

OT requests swell

police department proposal

Police Commissioner Kenneth Jackson said the department’s main item is salary, with a proposal of $145,000 more for 2014-15. Total police personnel requests are $8.21 million, and $602,628 in overtime.

Jackson said there will be an approximate $30,000 in S.T.E.P increases, also longevity increases and raise in holiday pay, which is all contractual.

“We had a lot of young officers we hired about three or four years ago, and they are now reaching certain levels of the pay scale, and accruing holiday pay as per contract,” Jackson said.

Trustee Silver, who spoke on the boards behalf, shared a concern of the overtime budget for 55 officers when 50 are on the force, asking, “on the spectrum of aggressive, conservative and realistic, where is $602,000?”

Jackson replied that the budget is “fairly reasonable,” citing the variable to consider is injuries on the force, explaining, “I do have an older force, and its hard to tell, but I think we’re more goal oriented when we put this number out.”

The overtime budget for the police department is projected for an $8,000 increase in 2014-15, which Jackson said “knows will be an area of concern because we are projecting about a $75,000 surplus, even though we had a good month in January, we’re hoping to scale that down in the winter months—hopefully the weather will be more friendly towards us.”

Also regarding the overtime budget, Jackson said the department will be moving over monies for special events, estimating at $25,000 per year, saying its “a wise step.”

Jackson said the department had “an excessive amount of injuries last year—three officers were assaulted, a police aide [came down] with a major illness, and a couple of officers were hurt in recent ice storms—we lost a lot of time but we feel we can get that number down.”

Percentage costs of overtime were listed by Jackson as 22 percent for arrests, personal time as 20 percent, sick time as over 8.5 percent, and vacation as almost 4.5 percent. Jackson also said the department spent $35,000 more in local special events and $25,000 for overtime in staffing them.

Last year, the department made 322 arrests, almost identical to the 321 made in 2012-13. A particular area of concern for Jackson and the rest of the department, which he attributed to as “a sign of the times” are case/investigative reports.

“In 2013, we had about 1,027, and the year before that we had 860,” Jackson shared. “There is a significant rise there, however most of it is minor. Major crimes are down in a slight percentage, we’re up in some petty crimes.”

The department has a case closure rate of 50 to 53 percent for both years, and Jackson said while its impossible to forecast timing in arrests, he has placed his hopes in Nassau County with their current efforts in renewing the department’s record management system, which Jackson said “could take one or two hours off the arrest process,” and potentially decrease overtime costs.

According to Jackson, the replacement of a retired officer with a younger, lower-priced officer would result in a savings of $90,000 in police department salaries.

In non-personnel expenses, Jackson said the department has kept a “flat budget” and mentioned that last year, the department reached a savings of $49,000. Jackson also said the department received a $14,300 grant for bulletproof vests.

In maintenance and operation, Jackson said the department projected roughly a $2000 or $3000 increase, and that they’ve serviced several engines and transmissions this year.

“We’ve moved forward to newer cars, and we should be able to maintain this budget—however its variable,” Jackson said. “If you don’t replace cars, it will effect us in a negative fashion.”

Jackson said the department picked a flat line on their gas budget, explaining that its another variable expense, and the newer cars are “not economic.”

“Sometimes, I don’t mind my officers putting miles on cars, because I know they’re patrolling,” Jackson said, noting this is one of the first years they are under budget with gas, and that he keeps up with the latest developments on gas prices.

Jackson said the department flatlines at an estimated 11,000 calls per year, consisting of mainly auto accidents.