continued “You’re going to have to pay the debt anyway,” Carr said. “You’re also going to pay a sewer bill, a fire department district bill and a lighting district bill. Diminishing this village will not take care of this – you’re still going to be paying the money and you’re not going to have a village.”
The trustees went on to talk about how they’d been crunching numbers and discovered that there is no easy fix to the problem. For example, if every village employee worked 32 hours per week instead of 40, the savings would only amount to about $175,000. If the village closed the recreation department, it would only save $105,000. But the fact that the abolishment of the police department would potentially save $1.98 million in next year’s budget was hard for Carr to ignore.
“We are 1.6 square miles within the Town of DeWitt,” he said. “The Town of DeWitt is 33.9 miles. No one can sit here and tell me that the DeWitt Police Department, with 36 officers, cannot handle absorbing the 1.6 miles into the 33.9 it already has.”
Tackman said the board plans to continue exploring its options and looking into potential cuts for each department before the board’s next meeting, at 7 p.m. on August 5.
Many East Syracuse residents may have already encountered members of the newly-formed “Save East Syracuse” Political Action Committee knocking on their doors. The members have been out circulating a petition to bring a referendum to abolish the East Syracuse Police Department up for a vote. Bernie Ment, chairman of the Save East Syracuse PAC, said they’re hoping to get between 300 and 400 signatures before presenting anything to the board, which, if gathered, would represent about 25 percent of registered voters in the village.
“There’s no legal requirement – a referendum petition can’t force the village into doing anything,” Ment said. “However, it’s a pretty strong message when you turn in 25 percent of the village voters’ signatures and say to the board that we want to revisit this issue. They’re not going to be able to ignore it.”