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East Syracuse police vote to be held on April 16

Village board decides to enter into a shared services agreement with DeWitt

— The East Syracuse Village Board held a public hearing on April 2 for residents to share their thoughts about the amended shared services agreement for its police department with the town of DeWitt.

On March 21, the DeWitt Town Board approved the agreement with one change to the original inter-municipal agreement which was adopted by the village board in early March: the date in which the agreement will take place. Instead of starting in June of this year, the police departments would combine effective Jan.1, 2015 if East Syracuse voters decide to eliminate the police.

After hearing several comments from residents, the board voted 3 – 2 to create a new local law to abolish the village police department and enter into a shared services agreement with the town, depending on the results of a referendum scheduled for April 16.

“Sure, I’d like to have more time to get the information out and look at other options, but we want to make this change by May 1 [when the 2014-15 budget must be passed] if possible,” East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman said. “Because it’s not going to be an overnight change, it’s going to be a transition, and we don’t want to wait until next year. We want to move forward so we can look at every other department [for more savings].

Trustee Carol Para and Deputy Mayor Barbara Quonce voted against the agreement.

“I’m just not convinced by the [potential] savings,” Para said. “Most of the residents that have contacted me are asking that we don’t do it, so I am going with what they’re saying.”

The rest of the components of the shared services agreement are the same as what was voted upon last month: all five full-time East Syracuse police officers will transfer to the DeWitt Police and there will be a post created just for the village of East Syracuse. The village is guaranteed one police officer at that post 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and East Syracuse will pay the town $375,000 a year for the next four years to help offset the cost of the additional officers and to help the town make the transition of adding the five new police officers.

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