“We have to do something or else we will lose the village”

Future of East Syracuse is up in the air; plans being made to save the village

— The usual crowd of concerned citizens made its way to the East Syracuse village board meeting on July 1 to hear what had been accomplished since the June meeting to prevent taxes from going any higher next year. The answer was: not much. Trustee Jim Carr proposed a public hearing at the August meeting to discuss the possibility of abolishing the East Syracuse Police Department, which failed by a vote of 3 – 2.

Mayor Bob Tackman, whose vote decided the outcome, said he wasn’t comfortable holding a public forum until he could be sure that he could confidently answer any questions directed his way.

“There are lots of questions about what has happened, what hasn’t happened, what would happen, where the money is going and what the tax increase would be,” Tackman said. “And many of those questions have been answered by doing research, but there are a few that we’re still waiting on for each department. Until we have all of the numbers, I’m not comfortable having a meeting and then saying ‘I don’t know.’ I want to make sure we have answers.”

Trustee Carr was upfront with the residents and told them that if something doesn’t change, their taxes (which went up 22 percent this year) were on track to be raised again in 2014.

“Revenues are decreasing and expenses are going up,” Carr said. “The board worked on this budget until midnight on some nights. We did not find a silver bullet because it’s not in there. It’s frustrating because you want to get on the board to improve the village, but we don’t have two cents to improve the village. We’re just maintaining it.”

Unlike previous meetings, in which the majority of the audience was pushing for the abolishment of the police department, much of the talk was about the idea of dissolving the village into the Town of DeWitt as a means to save money. But Carr was quick to respond that dissolving the village is not the answer the residents are looking for.

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