East Syracuse delays possible police referendum

Village plans to negotiate enhanced services agreement with DeWitt

— Under Michalenko’s proposed services agreement, all five of East Syracuse’s police officers would be hired full-time by the town and would still patrol the village. He said he’d be happy to use the same enhanced services agreement that was negotiated in 2012; with two additions. First, he asked that a clause be added in which would account for officers who could possibly have to collect disability payments. Additionally, he asked that the village pay $375,000 over the next five years to ensure that DeWitt taxpayers won’t have to pick up the burden of paying for the additional officers, and to help the town make the transition of adding the five new police officers.

“Right now, the village is in control of the DeWitt residents’ destiny; they have no vote,” Michalenko said. “That’s why I’m advocating a services agreement. I don’t want an abolishment causing DeWitt residents pain.”

Although it’s still too early to know exactly what the proposed $375,000 would do to East Syracuse’s tax rate, based on the comptroller’s projections, East Syracuse residents would see bigger savings if the board decided to go through with a full abolishment instead of a services agreement. Trustee Jim Carr told Michalenko that he doesn’t think his proposed agreement could happen because East Syracuse can’t afford to pay an extra $375,000.

“That’s $375,000 extra that [residents] are going to have to pay in addition for paying for the police,” Carr said. “That $375,000 is on top of the tax rate. Our residents can’t afford $375,000 over five years. It’s not there, we cannot afford it.”

Another issue with a proposed agreement is the fact that the village and town are on completely different schedules. Because the village must pass its budget by May 1, the board is trying to get a referendum scheduled as soon as possible so that it knows whether or not it should include the police department in its plan for 2014-15. But the town’s fiscal year started on Jan. 1, and it won’t be discussing the next budget until fall 2014. The village wants to take action as soon as possible so it can know what to budget for, and the town wants more time to be able to come up with accurate numbers and share them with the public.

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