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East Syracuse delays possible police referendum

Village plans to negotiate enhanced services agreement with DeWitt

— East Syracuse residents will have to wait at least another month to find out the fate of their police department.

Coming into the Feb. 3 meeting, it appeared that the village was prepared to create a local law to abolish the village police department and schedule a referendum to give residents the ability to weigh in on whether or not to abolish the East Syracuse Police Department at the end of the month. But by the end of the meeting, the board changed its mind and decided to see if it could negotiate an enhanced services agreement with the town of DeWitt before its meeting in March.

“I don’t think abolishment may be the best way to do it,” said East Syracuse Mayor Robert Tackman. “A shared services agreement gives everybody the opportunity to transition… Hopefully, by March, we’ll have the contract signed and can start having meetings to educate the public.”

According to report by the County Comptroller’s office, if the village were to abolish its police department without an enhanced services agreement, the tax rate would be reduced from $16.41 to $10.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value this year. However, because the town of DeWitt would have to raise its taxes to accommodate the police, East Syracuse residents’ town portion of their tax bill would increase approximately $2.30 per $1,000, which would result in a net savings of $3.19 per $1,000.

But DeWitt Supervisor Ed Michalenko pointed out that the report did not take into account the fact that the DeWitt Police would have to increase its staff to accommodate a large call volume from the village. He proposed an enhanced services agreement to the village board, which is what was agreed upon in 2012 when the village first put the police up for referendum.

“I ask that you delay the vote on abolishment and give us time to put together the accurate numbers and to plan for the future so that we can make an educated and well-informed decision,” Michalenko said. “The service agreement is the only way that everybody wins.”

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