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Vandalism and Village Budgets: Toilet-Torching Poses Problem in Hastings

Should taxpayers' funds be used to replace rented port-a-potties?

Last year at least 5 portable toilets were set on fire in Hastings, with the crimes beginning in late  

Most of the teenagers suspected of committing the crimes were apprehended sometime during the course of the summer. All were locals. 

causing damage that would have cost the village $1,000 to replace had the youths not been caught on a surveillance camera that happened to be turned in the direction of the toilet at the time the arson was committed. 

According to police, if convicted in court, youths responsible for destroying portable toilets or any other village property are responsible for paying to replace them—and if they don't have the money, their families take on the burden—

And if suspects are not apprehended, the village must pay.

Ray Gomez, superintendent of Hastings' Parks and Recreation Department, confirmed that every time a toilet is destroyed, his department's budget takes another $1,000 hit.

This year, trustees have proposed to allot $780,000 or 5.8 percent of the village budget to the Rec. Department to pay its employees and to run operations such as: summer camps, sports programs, seniors' activities and many other programs residents have some to enjoy and expect.

Should residents be paying to replace damaged and destroyed equipment?

How should the ongoing issue of costly vandalism in Hastings be handled?

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