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Clay will end contract with sheriffs

The town of Clay is ending its enhanced services agreement with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department effective Jan. 1, 2012. The town board voted unanimously to begin the process to terminate the contract at its Oct. 3 board meeting.

The town of Clay is ending its enhanced services agreement with the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department effective Jan. 1, 2012. The town board voted unanimously to begin the process to terminate the contract at its Oct. 3 board meeting.

— 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.

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sqirljam21 2 years, 10 months ago

Has anyone missed the Clay police dept ? These town police departments serve more as "Big Brother is Watching you" than anything else, they set up to harrass the citizens of petty driving offences more than anything else. A case in point is Central Square where they have two police cars whose sole duty it seems is to enforce 30 MPH speed limits on a mile stretch of Rt 11 and Rt 49. Hiding in places with their radar guns to catch all of the criminal citizens who may not be paying attention to their exact speed for a moment, I don't see these as real crimes but a momentary lapse going downhill could cost you $150.00, and the alternative is you have to drive in fear that Big Brother is going to come down on you for being mearly human. The speed limit between Central Square and Brewerton is 45 and not patrolled yet I don't see anyone doing 60 or 70 on that stretch of road , nor to cicero either. So I think this qualifies Central Square as a low speed, speed trap. ( A tax by any other name ).

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