By Margie Plunkett
Mayor Roger Bennett is asking the two police agencies bidding to provide Briny
Breezes protection to forego annual 4 percent increases, a move that delayed a
vote at the Town Council’s May meeting.
The town now plans to choose a proposal at the June 24 meeting, pending responses
from police departments in Boynton
Beach, which currently patrols Briny Breezes, and Ocean Ridge. The current
police contract expires at the end of September.
Briny Breezes spends most of its limited tax base on police and fire protection,
according to Bennett, who added that the 4 percent increases would “put Briny
Breezes out of business” over time. If the town can’t reach agreement on the
increase, it will ask the police agencies for a one-year contract, the mayor
Ocean Ridge Police Chief Chris Yannuzzi questioned a calculation indicating that
Ocean Ridge’s cost per hour equaled $71, while Boynton Beach’s was $37.
Yannuzzi contended the police agencies should be compared equally, calculating
each at providing coverage 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Ocean Ridge would
be less expensive, he said.
Mayor Bennett said the per-hour figures take in that Boynton Beach includes an
eight-hour shift, marine patrol and patrols from an adjacent zone, essentially
several more trips a day.
A letter that accompanied an earlier survey of Briny Breezes residents on their
police preferences said the Boynton Beach police contract would cost $220,000 a
year, compared to $185,000 for Ocean Ridge, but the two departments offered
differing levels of service. The difference in prices would equal $2.22 per
each share in the Briny Breezes corporation. Briny Breezes shareholders would
pay on average $71 more for Boynton Beach police than Ocean Ridge, the document
Council also tweaked Boynton Beach police summer hours to provide coverage during the
day on weekends. The dedicated shifts will be 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through
Friday and noon to 8 p.m. on weekends.
Separately, Briny Breezes is still looking to fill an alderman’s position on the council
after former Alderman Karen Wiggins left the panel to join the corporate board.
The council is also searching for a resident to serve as an alternate on the
Planning and Zoning Board.