Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saving Money is So Boring

Saugerties Police Consolidation - Town of Saugerties Study of Service Configuration Options for the Village...

The first of two [possibly three] public meetings whose focus is Saugerties Police Consolidation took place last night at the Senior Citizen's Center. Admittedly, I entered skeptical of the presentation [given by Tim Weideman of Fairweather Consulting]. However I walked away with the impression there are folks in local government who are working [hard] for the tax payers' best interest. It was apparent that combining services should have happened long ago.
It's hard to argue with the figures. Although terribly boring, the presenter was clear with his findings - there would be no tax increase for Saugerties Town and a huge savings for Saugerties Village. "Playing devil's advocate", Mr. Weidman explained that in the worst senario if cost-savings are not implemented as proposed, Town tax payers would see an increase of 4% in the third year of implementation.

I'll try to simplify this for all concerned; presently Saugerties Village is paying 53% of its $2,000,000.00 general budget to run the Village Police Department. If Village and Town police departments merged into one entity, Village taxes would be decreased by 21% since the cost of police services would be shared equally between the Town and Village. Presently, Village tax payers are responsible for two tax bills [not including school taxes], one for services provided by the Village and the second is for services provided by the Town. Those bills combine equaling an "Effective Tax Rate" of $9.32 per thousand dollars for [accessed value]. Town property owners pay $3.12 per thousand.

The new Town of Saugerties Chief of Police Louis Barbaria presented the savings [and benefits that will be realized by the merger] through shared services, personel, equipment and technologies. If merged, the Village would have two detectives to work crime cases. In addition, the policing technologies that the Village would benefit from [which Town Police presently have] include "GPS, Mobile Data Units, License Plate Readers and MobileCop Technology". Chief Barbaria also presented the discussions that are ongoing to include a cross walking guard [at school crossings] will be hired in order to relieve the patrol officers who presently work in that position.

Working families in Saugerties Village can no longer afford to pay half our total budget to sustain the staus quo. The "Saugerties Public Safety Service Configuration - A Study of Service Configuration Options for the Village and Town Police Departments" is available at Town (246-2800) and Village (246-2321) offices for review or copy.

David Radovanovic
100 Dock Street
Saugerties, NY 12477
(845) 247-0909

No comments: