By EAST AURORA EDITOR (4/12/2010 8:28:50 PM)
There are a few things with which most of us in the town and village will probably agree.
> All police officers or any position which requires as part of their duty putting themselves in harms way on purpose make far too little money.
> Having a local police force by default makes that community safer.
> We want the current police department to continue to serve the community in the future.
> Finally, the county sherrif will not provide the same level of service.
There is no question that the town screwed up when it sent the letter to the village notifying them that they were terminating the current agreement by not first talking either face to face or via telephone what their true intent was. However they were probably in a catch 22 in that they wanted to renegotiate but not show their entire hand by telling them what exactly they wanted to negotiate. Councilwoman Sue Friess blew that chance when she told the village that only thing the town wanted was a seat at the table.
Still, it wouldn't have taken much to call the village in advance.
Seemingly after Friess's untimely statement there is only one thing they will be discussing with the village and that is that the town wants to be a part of the decision making process when dealing with police matters that are currently only decided by the Village Board.
It's no secret that Friess feels the town should pay more than the village when it comes to police service. (There are more residents in the town) She is the one who pretty much single handedly drove the initiative to move the cost from the village to the town which increased the town outside of the village taxes 100% last year. There will probably a similar increase this year for town residents since the town's cost will rise to 53% as of June 1st.
The agreement which Friess spearheaded went before an incredibly detached town board who basically refused to discuss the agreement with the Village and simply agreed to the proposal by the village as proposed once it was too late for any dialogue. Friess actually wanted the town increase to go into affect immediately!
So yes, the new agreement that was put in place a few years ago drastically increased the cost to town outside of the village residents but they still have zero say in police matters including how many officers they have, their salaries, and their contracts. The village mentions that Norm Suttel sat in on the negotiations, but the fact is that he was window dressing. He had no say at all in the negotiations.
Town and village residents could argue all day about who should pay what, but that seems to be water under the bridge right now as nobody is willing to broach that topic because of the mess that has taken place over the past few weeks.
I have heard from some that this shows why we need a single government. In one sense, they are correct. If there was only one government there would be no need for any of these argumemtns and accusations to occur. Everyone would have the same voice, the same bill, and the same service.
Others have said it exeplifies why we need both governments, in that the town and the village residents have different needs.
The Police Is Not Simply A Vendor, They Are Part Of The Community
One thing is for sure. We need to resolve the agreement this time around and not leave this open for arguments every three years. Everytime the police issue is discussed the officers have to be wondering if they will have a job. I guess it is no different from any other line of work. We all wonder how long we will be able to keep our jobs.
We can't treat police service like a typical vendor similar to other services like garbage pickup, cable, phone, etc. In those cases you would never expect a municipality to ask for a say in their decisions. However this is different. The costs are going to be split right down the middle and each resident of the town or village will pay the same based on their property assessment.
Contractual Issues With Equal Decision Making Power
Unfortunately I am not completely aware of all of the different challenges in figuring out why it wouldn't be easy to simply give the town an equal voice, but I know that none of them couldn't be overcome. Contracts can be changed. Laws can be changed.
Giving the town an equal voice is the fair thing to do. On average both town and village residents will be paying about $500 per $100,000 assessed value. That is by far the single largest expenditure in our local taxes. To leave the town out in the cold is wrong. Heck, the Obaminator just passed health care without having a vote!
The police department themselves say that they do not differentiate between the town and village when providing their service. We shouldn't either. Having the village make all of the dicisions on these matters and leaving the town residents without a voice is taxation without representation in this instance. Hopefully the town won't let the threats by the village discourage them from seeking this voice.
Oh yes, I know that the town did have a voice when they agreed to the last contract. You're right. Hopefully the town will be loud and clear this time around and right a wrong.
Editor's note. I live in the town, right on the border of the village. My across the street neighbors all live in the village. I want the EAPD to remain live most others and probably have a different perspective than someone living on the border of Colden, Wales or Elma where they do not pay for police services.
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kevin biggs ...(4/24/2010 2:53:34 PM)
i disagree with the issue that the town should have a say in police matters. the village is the service provider. the village doesnt have a say when we get our water bill from the county or get hit with the yearly 3.5% increase. we dont get to tell the garbage company how many bags they should take or how many people to hire or have on the truck. the village provides a great service and has provided it for many years. it has only become an issue now that the town wants to take over our village. lets bring the refferendum to a vote and get this nonsense behind us.
Stanley Szczepankiewicz ...(4/16/2010 7:54:10 AM)
So Mr. Foley knows everything about the inner workings of these important matters. Too bad he couldn't verbalize them when it mattered most- such as candidates' night. Logic is a word that becomes foreign to past and present board members since they continue to make gaffes such as the letter that was presented to the village board. Stop holding hands with Krantz and look for real leaders in our community.
David Foley ...(4/13/2010 9:43:09 AM)
As a Village resident I feel victimized by all of this squabbling between our two Boards. Since the Town Board represents both Village and Town residents it would be logical that everything could be overcome if we shift the Police Dept. over to a Town entity and expect/require that Board to act on behalf of Village and Town residents alike. The Town Board should be making all of their decisions with all of us equally in mind anyhow. The mere existence of a Village Board, with a subset of constituents, inherently inhibits such objective decision making by Town officials.