The future of the village police department could be in the hands of East Syracuse residents. A referendum vote on whether to abolish the department is scheduled for Oct. 16.
Photo by Ned Campbell.
East Syracuse The East Syracuse Village Board is one step closer to putting the future of the village police department up to a vote.
At tonight's regular meeting, the board scheduled a public hearing for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 1, when the board is expected to vote on whether to abolish the village police department. If the board votes yes, the decision will then go to the residents of East Syracuse during a referendum vote scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 16.
But first, village residents can learn about the proposal at an informational meeting slated for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the St. Matthew’s Church gymnasium on Kinne Street.
“The goal is to lay the facts out for people to make an educated decision,” said Mayor Danny Liedka. “That’s the bottom line.”
Liedka said dropping the village police department would save taxpayers an estimated 25 to 30 percent, “but I’ll have it to the penny by the time we have our public hearing.” The department’s operating costs, at about $1.2 million per year, are too high for the village's tax base to sustain, he said. Those costs include pension, health insurance and wages for police officers, training, fleet, ammunition and fuel.
If residents vote to abolish the police force, all village police work would be absorbed by the DeWitt Police Department as required by New York State law.
“We’d pay the town of DeWitt $400,000 to increase the level of service in the village and we would net $800,000,” the mayor said.
The village of East Syracuse and the town of DeWitt are working on a shared services agreement that will take effect if the department is abolished. The agreement should be finalized and voted on at the DeWitt Town Board meeting on Monday, and its terms will be laid out at the informational meeting Sept. 19, Liedka said.