SILVER CREEK – Residents of Sunset Bay told Hanover Town Board members that they are concerned about incidents of violence in the beach area.
During the meeting Monday of the Town Board, trustees and Chautauqua County Sheriff Joseph Gerace heard several complaints about the lack of police patrols on the beach and lakefront area. One woman said her grandson was assaulted and had a broken jaw. The head lifeguard said that one of the lifeguards was struck.
Gerace asked residents to call his dispatchers more often when they see incidents that could potentially be dangerous. He said he has received complaints of too much coverage for police writing parking tickets and stopping motorists who are leaving the Sunset Bay area.
The sheriff told residents to call 911 for any incident that could result in an injury or death. He provided the administrative phone number of 753-2131 for non-emergency situations.
The sheriff confirmed that detectives are investigating the assault situation but that there are not strong leads in the case.
Residents pressed town Supervisor Todd Johnson to consider making the beach area a “residents only” beach. Johnson said he would look into the request. He also told the group that he will propose to the board that in the future, enhanced police coverage contracts to the Sunset Bay area be billed to residents in that area.
Johnson said that currently the enhanced contract with the sheriff for extra coverage in the summer months is billed to all residents of the town who live outside either of the villages of Silver Creek or Forestville.
Board members voted that this year’s contract for extra services could not exceed $7.000 and would cover about 28 shifts in the summer. The hourly rate for extra services is $35.35.
Johnson said that cost would be about 13 cents for each $1,000 of assessed value for residents in that area.
“If you need 56 shifts, then I guess the cost would be doubled,” he said.
Some Sunset Bay residents were opposed to the special tax idea. They said the beach is populated by people from outside their area.
Johnson said the board will continue to review issues related to the Sunset Bay complaints, which also included underage drinking, the use of alcohol on the public beach and people urinating in the private lawn areas near resident homes.
In other matters:
• The board received word that federal funding to dredge the creek at Sunset Bay is probably unavailable. Board members will continue to pursue funding sources for a dredging project at the creek.
• A motion to change all the lighting at Town Hall to energy-efficient lightbulbs and fixtures was approved with a rebate from NYSEG of $3,102.