Suffolk County’s proposed $2.89 billion operating budget will including funding for a number of East End initiatives, according to County Legislator Jay Schneiderman.
Among other things, the budget includes additional money for East End police departments, funding for an East End teen suicide prevention program, and new positions to improve water quality and respond to the Lyme disease epidemic.
An additional $3 million from county sales tax revenue will be earmarked over the next three years for East End municipalities that have their own police departments. A disproportionate amount of sales tax has always gone to the Suffolk County Police Department, which only serves western towns, according to Mr. Schneiderman, who has lobbied for a greater contribution to East End departments since joining the legislature.
Legislator Schneiderman said he was able to secure $50,000 for a South Fork teen suicide prevention program that will also receive funding from Southampton and East Hampton towns as well as several local school districts. The program will be administered by a new mental health consortium formed by the Family Service League in conjunction with Southampton and Stony Brook hospitals.
The county budget also includes $500,000 to expand Sunday bus service to additional routes and for longer hours into the evening. Previously, only about 20 percent of bus routes had Sunday service.
Mr. Schneiderman said in a press release that he was also able to secure additional funding to add positions, so the county can take more water samples and investigate ground water contamination. He also said he secured funding for an entomologist to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce Lyme and other tick-borne illness in the county.
The adopted budget will now go back to County Executive Bellone who will have the opportunity to veto any amendments made to his originally proposed $2.89 billion budget.