East Hills to ask Suozzi, Phillips to fund security cameras

The Island Now

After the theft of property from three unlocked cars in East Hills, Mayor Michael Koblenz told residents that the village would ask newly elected officials to help fund a plan to install 99 security cameras.

Koblenz said  the village was seeking outside funds to cover the $500,000 cost of the project. 

“That is a major expense,” he said in an email to residents. “Since we want to freeze your taxes, again, next year, if at all possible, for an unprecedented seventh year in a row, the added expenditure would be difficult to absorb.”

The village recently began inquiring about state and federal grants after it determined the type and cost of its desired equipment, Koblenz said. 

“We have a new Congressman, Tom Suozzi, and a new State Senator, Elaine Phillips,” he said in the email. “We will be asking them for their assistance as soon as they are sworn in.”

He said he had “no idea” whether the new officials would be able to secure the funding.

“We’re talking about a freshman congressman and freshman state senator,” he said. “I don’t know whether they’ll have the ability to do it. That’s the reality of it.” 

Manny Zuckerman, deputy mayor of East Hills, said the petty thefts on Nov. 14 are “a classic example of where cameras would help” in apprehending the perpetrator or perpetrators, who have not been identified. Sets of three cameras would be placed at 33 locations throughout the village, which have been chosen for their vicinity to points of ingress and egress, Zuckerman said. If installed, the cameras will record license plate information for every car that enters and exits the village. 

He said the cameras would have likely allowed village security to identify the vehicle involved in the recent thefts because they “happened around 2 a.m. when there’s not a lot of traffic” in and out of the village. 

The proposal for the installation of the cameras was made in late September by the village security committee, which formed after a robbery and an attempted burglary  in December 2015. The initial cost for equipment and installation of the cameras was estimated to be $320,000, according to Steve Mussman, a village resident and member of the security committee. The additional cost is due in part to the need for ongoing maintenance of the cameras, Koblenz said. 

If the village cannot raise the funds from state and federal grants, Zuckerman said, it may “seek a bond” to “pay off the cost over several years.” 

He added: “When you’re spending a half million dollars, you have to be careful. The way things are moving with technology, these cameras could be out of date before we install them.” 


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