Clay Effective Jan. 1, 2012, the town of Clay will no longer have a contract for enhanced services with the sheriff’s department.
According to Clay Supervisor Damian Ulatowski, there just isn’t room in the town’s $12,166,584 budget for the nearly $1.5 million annual expense.
“With this move, we will join the ranks of most of the towns in the county that receive services at no additional cost,” Ulatowski said. “We are confident the sheriff will continue to provide comparable service to our residents as he is legally obliged to do.”
Ulatowski made the announcement during his tentative budget presentation during the Clay Town Board’s regular meeting Monday Oct. 3. The 2012 tentative budget is down $915,781 from 2011; Ulatowski said those cuts were tough to make.
“Clay has always been fiscally well-run. In the past, we have built a reputation on the delivery of high-quality services with one of the lowest tax rates in the county,” he said. “Unfortunately, in this age of tax caps, constant uncontrolled budgetary increases and loss of our sales tax revenues, we are somewhat a victim of our own frugality. Simply put, there is no money in our budget to pay for mandated increases. In fact, there never was.”
The town has already sent the required six month notice of intent to terminate the contract to the county. Ulatowski said he can still negotiate a new contract.
“The way we’ve presented the budget tonight, it includes us eliminating that contract unless something can be worked out between now and then, and we’ve got until the end of November to figure that out,” he said. “There’s room to modify it.”
Voters in the town of Clay resoundingly approved a referendum on June 23, 2008, voting by a margin of 69 percent to 31 percent to get rid of the existing Clay Police Department and merge with the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Department. Then-Supervisor James Rowley promised savings of around $1.3 million a year, a total of some $17 million over the next 10 years, a number hotly contested by the PBA at the time. The savings, Rowley said in 2008, came from the elimination of duplicated services, including administration and support staff, technology procurement and liability and workers’ compensation insurance. The merger also eliminated the position of commissioner and five part-time police positions.