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DeWitt Town Board approves inter-municipal police contract with East Syracuse

Residents and members of the media gather at DeWitt Town Hall during a special meeting of the town board today. The board voted to allow the supervisor to sign an inter-municipal police contract with the village of East Syracuse that will only go into effect if village residents vote to dissolve their police department.

Residents and members of the media gather at DeWitt Town Hall during a special meeting of the town board today. The board voted to allow the supervisor to sign an inter-municipal police contract with the village of East Syracuse that will only go into effect if village residents vote to dissolve their police department. Photo by Ned Campbell.

— The village of East Syracuse can move forward with the first of two public hearings to consider abolishing the police department, set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 19, at the St. Matthews School gym on Kinne Street.

This follows the DeWitt Town Board’s 6-1 vote during a special meeting at 3 p.m. today to allow Supervisor Ed Michalenko to sign an inter-municipal contract with the village. Councilor Jack Dooling cast the board’s sole “no” vote.

Town Councilor Ken Andrews said the contract would have the village of East Syracuse pay DeWitt “$400,000 per year for approximately 4.5 years to provide coverage that they describe as what they would like for the village,” should village residents vote to abolish the police department. He said the town board is not advocating for or against the dissolution of the department.

“It’s been my position from the beginning that the village of East Syracuse is part of the town of DeWitt, that we would afford the village residents the same services as any other section of DeWitt, and this choice regarding police services should and will be the decisions of the residents of the village of East Syracuse,” said Town Supervisor Ed Michalenko.

DeWitt taxpayers would not incur any of the costs associated with the merger, the supervisor said. This differed from the numbers presented at Monday’s town board meeting, which showed DeWitt paying the East Syracuse $68,000 a year under the drafted contract. Michalenko said the difference resulted from reducing some of the savings to village residents.

According to the town board, the dissolution would result in a village taxpayer savings of $259 per $100,000 of assessed property.

“It’s hard to go to 75 percent of the constituents and say, we’re going to save 25 percent of our constituents some money, but we’re going to force the other 75 percent to pay more,” Michalenko said.

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