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It’s a Great Big Ball of Wax/Tax

All the furor about the Old Brookville Police Department and the financial issues involved are really very old news in the estate villages. The problems are longstanding and the villages over the years have been seeking solutions to save their taxpayers money. They are of course the land rich and assessed value taxes cause them much pain.

Over the time we have been covering the village police issue, Cove Neck opted out of the Oyster Bay Cove Police over a disagreement about taxes. They are now with the OBPD.

One of the continuing problems for the OBPD has been space. The Village of Muttontown offered a parcel of land in front of Village Hall on Route 106. To do so they asked NYS to exchange parkland in front of the village hall with land in the rear so the building could be built on the busy thoroughfare.

That didn’t work out.

Upper Brookville tried to offer more land to the police station, and that didn’t work out. 

The villages then decided to use property at the DeMatteis Center where St. Francis Hospital has a facility. Things seemed to be going along well when a problem turned up with the Diocese of Rockville Center that owns the property and now the issue appears to be the economy.

On April 19, at the Upper Brookville meeting, UB Police Commissioner Michael Schwerin said the consortium had taken the new OBPD facility off the table because of the current economic conditions. That was one of the conditions of the Muttontown proposal. The other condition was that the contribution of each village was to remain the same for next year as last year; and the joint protection agreement was to be extended for one year instead of the possible 20 years that the contract suggested.

At the meeting people hinted that the current OBPD contract problems were all a “personality” issue. Or maybe “personalities.”

Whatever it is, the cost of private policing and public policing is a relevant issue that continues both here and in the county – and underlaying it all are union contracts with benefits that are in many/most cases better than the average citizen has.

Union Contracts was one of the issues brought up at the meetings, and an Upper Brookville resident, a contractor, said his industry had taken benefit packages into consideration during a previous financial episode and were in better condition as a result.

Well if it is personalities or not, it is all about negotiations.

One thing we would like to challenge readers to think of – are the unions just “right out awful” or do we all wish we had a union behind us? The thought of pensions is always comforting and a great way to step into those golden years. Most companies have stepped up to the plate and offer 401K retirement plans that offer a tax advantage; and sometimes company contributions, as opposed to what unions have been getting with their being 100 percent funded, originally, to the member now having to make some contributions.

As to health care, Obama has been trying to address those needs. The new Muttontown Police Department Chief said since he retired and is 65, he will be covered by Medicare and will not need health coverage. Whether the PBA will allow that is another issue. He is going back to them to get permission to return to work after retiring. All we can say once again is we live in interesting times.