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East Syracuse Village Board votes to abolish police

Village-wide referendum vote to be held April 2

— After almost one year of research and discussion, three motions to abolish, two public hearings and the finalization of a contract with DeWitt, the East Syracuse Village Board voted 4 -1 at its March 3 meeting in favor of abolishing its police department and entering into a shared services agreement with the town of DeWitt.

Now the public will get to make the final decision on April 2 during a special election for the referendum vote. Mayor Robert Tackman said the board met with officials from the DeWitt Town Board several times last month to hammer out a contract, which ended up being similar to the agreement both municipalities decided upon back in 2012 when a police merger with DeWitt was first proposed.

The key differences between that contract and the new one include the transfer of all five of East Syracuse’s full-time officers to DeWitt and the creation of a new police post within the DeWitt Police Department for the village. That means that there will be a former East Syracuse police officer patrolling the one square mile that makes up the village of East Syracuse at all times.

Additionally, village taxpayers will pay the town $375,000 over 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. If residents vote to abolish the department, the contract would take effect on Jan. 1, 2015.

Overall, cutting the police is projected to save the village about $725,000 from its budget and could bring the tax rate down to an estimated $12.98 from last year’s $16.41, according to Tackman. Currently, village taxpayers pay 80 cents per $1,000 of assessed home value to the town – under the new contract, that amount would go up to $2.59 per $1,000.

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