March 4, 2014

The Update Desk: Consensus on Consolidation

In a recent post on the Consensus commission, the group that's going to help us here in Onondaga County and the city of Syracuse figure out how we can reduce the number of jurisdictions we have, I mentioned two examples of why we need to come up with ways to do exactly that.

One example was the village of East Syracuse, faced with an almost 22% tax increase; the village board was looking for opportunities to help reduce that burden, and looking again at possibly making the painful decision to get rid of the village police department and instead have police services provided by the town of Dewitt.

Last night, the village board voted to eliminate the police department, by a vote of four to one. The one board member who voted against the local law noted that the voters made their decision back in 2012 when they voted down a similar opportunity.

Times have changed since then - I think the tax increase is indicative of that. And while this decision wouldn't completely eliminate the cost of police protection for village residents, it is projected to save about $164 in taxes annually on a house assessed at $100,000, or more than half of the 2014 increase, if my math is correct.

Next step? Another public vote, coming on April 2nd.  We'll see if things will be different this time, or if the residents stick to their guns (and the higher taxes) again.

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