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Thread: County again desiring patrol fees from towns

  1. #1
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    County again desiring patrol fees from towns

    They just don't know what it means to make cuts..


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    www.buffalonews.com

    County again desiring patrol fees from towns
    By MATTHEW SPINA
    News Staff Reporter
    7/25/2005

    Erie County officials, ordered to produce a four-year financial plan, have penciled in a charge to towns for Sheriff's Department road patrols, reviving a debate between town and county leaders over who pays for police protection.
    Early work sheets obtained by The Buffalo News show that county officials also contemplate a charge for parking at county-owned parks and possibly raising other fees for park services to bring in $3 million more next year.

    The increases need County Legislature consent, but the stakes are high if the Giambra administration includes the fees in its final four-year plan and lawmakers reject them. In that case, revenues would not meet expenses, so the new state-appointed control board could then flex its muscles to rein in spending and force the hands of elected leaders.

    With the control board expecting the four-year forecast by Oct. 1, the debate over whether outlying towns should pay extra to rely primarily on sheriff's patrols will rage during political primary season. Legislators would vote on the plan in mid-September.

    County Executive Joel A. Giambra says that it is unfair for residents in some towns to pay for sheriff's patrols they rarely use because they also finance their own full-time police departments. He says residents in roughly 15 outlying towns rely primarily on sheriff's deputies - Clarence, Elma and Grand Island among them - and pay nothing extra.

    The new work sheets show that county officials assume they could collect $4.2 million from towns for Sheriff's Department patrols, roughly the entire cost for sheriff's patrols authorized in the austere 2005 budget.

    "We are trying to implement user fees wherever possible," Giambra said. "Just like at the state parks, we are going to charge to come into the parks."

    He added that the fee for road patrols would be based on the cost of a car and a deputy and designed to be cheaper for a town than starting its own patrol. He wants to meet soon with sheriff's officials, who resist the idea.

    "I'm not surprised that it's going to be included, because it has been mentioned every time the county takes another look at the budget," said Clarence Supervisor Kathleen E. Hallock, whose town of 26,000 people is among the county's largest without a police force.

    Hallock could not predict how Clarence would react if charged for patrols. It depends on the cost, she said.

    County Legislator Michael H. Ranzenhofer of Clarence, the Legislature's minority leader, has been a critic of attempts to raise taxes and charge extra fees for Sheriff's Department protection.

    "That's what you pay county taxes for, to get county services," he said.

    The issue has been around for years, and Giambra threw it into play last year when laying groundwork for the 2005 budget. Then-Sheriff Patrick M. Gallivan responded by saying road patrols were not a luxury, as Giambra's budget director termed them, but "a vital service taxpayers pay for."

    Gallivan documented the spread of Sheriff's Department services across the county, including the use of the jail by defendants from every town, and called it a fair distribution of services. The picture changed, however, when looking at complaint calls fielded by deputies.

    While Buffalo led all municipalities, Clarence generated nearly 11 percent of the calls to deputies, Grand Island 9.2 percent and Alden 8.3 percent - towns without full-time police departments.

    The large towns of Amherst, Cheektowaga and Tonawanda rarely called on deputies because they have their own police.

    "It's reasonable for those towns that benefit from patrol services that are provided by the Erie County Sheriff's Department to contribute to the cost of those services," said Tonawanda Supervisor Ronald H. Moline. "It's not fair to expect people in towns like Cheektowaga, Amherst and Tonawanda to pay for their own police protection and then to subsidize the police protection in other municipalities."

    Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, who succeeded Gallivan in May, does not want to see towns charged extra for road patrols.

    "If we are going to think of Erie County as a community, we are going to think of each other in times of need," Howard said. "If one member of the family needs eyeglasses and the others don't, do the other members have a right to expect something in return?"

    Before any charge is levied on any town, Howard wants to see a study on the spread of all county services - snowplowing, road repairs and sewer and lighting districts - to see if their costs are fairly distributed.

    Howard also says towns with large police departments tend to use the jail more, as well as the police crime lab. Should they be charged extra?

    "We provide a base level of service to all. Some want a greater service, and if they want it, they should have to pay for it," Howard said, referring to those towns that have added their own full-time police forces.

    Giambra administration officials also have begun to study traffic in county-owned parks as they determine whether to charge for parking. With a $1 million infusion, the parks in May were allowed to open until Nov. 1, with legislators debating whether fees can go up to make the system self-supporting next year.

    "We are looking at options," Parks Commissioner Angelo J. Sedita said, explaining that fees could be charged to launch a boat, and users could be charged more to rent a camp shelter, schedule a special event and play a round of golf.


    e-mail: mspina@buffnews.com

  2. #2
    Member Chris in Parkside's Avatar
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    Unhappy

    Good lord, this legislature is just helpless. Cuts? "DAAAA, WUD R BE CUTZ!#@!??"

    Let's just raise fees and taxes...

    Living here is a just a constant battle with the forces of ignorance.

  3. #3
    Member LaNdReW's Avatar
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    Time to turn it around.

    I say turn it around on the state.

    Stop funding the patrols, tell the state to do it.

    Anything except increase my taxes to patrol your town.

    Nice way to stop sprawl.
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis (1935)

  4. #4
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    Stop the Troopers FUND the deputies

    One idea being mentioned by many people these recently is to eliminate the Sheriff's patrols and rely on the State Police. Let's take a look at the economic reality of this idea. The State Police just signed a new contract that sets the base pay of a Trooper at $72,000 after five years on the job. The base pay for a Deputy Sheriff after five years is about $44,000. Sixty new troopers would be needed to replace the deputies currently doing the job. The deputies are the third lowest paid, of over twenty full time police departments in our area. Eliminating one of the lowest cost providers of police services doesn't make much sense. The most cost effective way to police the region would be to eliminate all of the individual police departments and make all officers Sheriffs deputies. We could then eliminate hundreds of duplicated positions in command structure, investigative services, specialty services and support staff, while maintaining the current levels of patrol in all municipalities. This area will never move forward as long as fear, pride and bias stop the discussion of consolidation. What seems to be overlooked is the fact that county taxes are down 30% since the Gorski years, yet your over all taxes are up dramatically. This points to the fact that our cherished town governments and local school districts are a major culprit in the high taxes that are choking our area. Our current feudal like system of layer apon layer of government requires more than 4500 employees above the national average. So as long as people remain committed to embracing the very anchor that drags us down, we should just keep our mouths shut and open our wallets to pay those higher taxes.

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    Before any charge is levied on any town, Howard wants to see a study on the spread of all county services - snowplowing, road repairs and sewer and lighting districts - to see if their costs are fairly distributed.
    Our "systems" in NYS are so damn "COMPLICATED" that we have to conduct "STUDIES" every single time BEFORE we can figure out how to fix ANY problems with "ANYTHING" !!! We need to do a study on how many "studies" are being done on a daily basis. How about a study on ALL the "studies" saying NYS taxpayers are PAYING TOO MUCH??
    Then, we need a study, to see if this "studies" "really work"...then a study to see if too many studies are being studied instead of them just....
    TRYING TO FREEKIN WEASEL OUT OF DOING THEIR JOBS\GETTING "PAID" MORE MONEY ...."""CONSTANTLY""" !!!

    Just gotta "embrace" that freekin public union "non-productive\way above average, extra high costs" type of mentality! NOBODY TELLS ME "NOTHING" I DON'T WANT TO HEAR OR CAN MAKE ME WORK ANY HARDER THAN I CURRENTLY AM.
    (period)

    Our current feudal like system of layer apon layer of government requires more than 4500 employees above the national average. So as long as people remain committed to embracing the very anchor that drags us down, we should just keep our mouths shut and open our wallets to pay those higher taxes.
    The "SUPER COMPLICATED"\EXTRA HIGHLY LAYERED FEDERAL SYSTEM "proved" to work on ....9\11, according to ....."STUDIES"......

    ---DIDN'T IT--- ???????

    MORE "$$$$$$$$$$$$$$" IS THE "GOVERNMENTS" ANSWER TO ..."EVERYTHING" !

    THE ONLY "PROBLEM" IS - THE PEOPLE WHO "HAVE" ALL THE MONEY - DON'T PAY FOR...

    SQUAT !

  6. #6
    Tony Fracasso - Admin
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    Isn't that the goal? To work as little as possible and get paid as much as possible at our expense? (the tax payer)

  7. #7
    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    There was also a story in the SNOOZE yesterday about Giambra looking to institute a "parking fee" at the county parks, which is really a tax hike. The "Well, I don't use county parks, so why should I have to pay for them?" crowd (the NIMBYs for county services) will be appeased, I suppose, but I'm sure they'll get their turn when they're asked to pay extra for some other county service that used to be covered by their county taxes. If the county has to raise taxes, then raise them, but don't try to sneak in a tax hike as a "user fee" for road patrols or for using a county park.

    I find it hypocritical that Giambra, who fancies himself the "visionary" of city-county consolidation, continuously advocates tax policies that discourage the sense of community that would have to exist for any successful consolidation to take place.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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    Member butters's Avatar
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    Police Consolidation

    Wasn't it just a few months ago in Kenmore or Tonawnada that they talked about eliminating the village or town police force and having the sheriffs take over and everybody that lived there came out and pretty much said "no way!"?

    And then even further back (years ago) there was talk of the Buffalo Police merging with the Sheriffs and the BPD union pretty much said "no way!".

    It is going to take a quadrupling of the property tax and a 15% sales tax before people will stop just worrying about the little towns where they live and realize they are part of the county and many things can be done cheaper, more efficiently and they won't notice a difference in the service!

    For the record, they can scrap the Lancaster Police Department anytime they want and have the ECSD take over as far as I'm concerned.

  9. #9
    Member granpabob's Avatar
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    my biggest complaint now is layersa of police patroling the same areas, Orchard park has its own police department but the county bunker is in chestnut ridge park and the state police also patrol the town. PICK ONE we should have local county or state police not all three
    If the city and towns with existing police departments want to keep what they have then maybe the other towns should do the same thing. let the voters choose what coverage they prefer.if its county sherrifs good then desolve local forces if its local police then let the county just handle the courts
    we have to cut away the layers and choose one way to do each job in the area .
    One good thing about growing old is your secrets are safe with your friends they can't remember them either

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    Having towns pay for basic services that they should be providing isn't a bad thing. I just wish that we had a political enviroment where all the municipalities could buy service from one force instead of having 10+ local police forces.

    The park idea is kind of ****ty, but I don't think the county should be providing parks in the first place.

    I'd also like to see the county's road system taken over by the towns that the roads are within, but it's already been gone over that we can't do that without getting the state involved.

  11. #11
    Member LaNdReW's Avatar
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    Here is the thing. Municipalities with a large number of residents can afford things like police and fire. Smaller communities cannot. This is why cities HAD the advantage over the surrounding areas. Well, had the advantage until mid-levels of government started providing services for the suburbs based on taxes collected from ALL residents.

    I tend to agree with J.O., keep the power/taxes at the lowest level of government. Let them provide the services.
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis (1935)

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    10 yr plan

    They could consolidate the Police forces in the area. But it wont happen. The only way it would happen would be if every cop went to the highest pay scale, the benefits were at the highest level, and there were no layoffs. Until then, there will be opositiion, and there will continue to be Police Chiefs of these small towns making over 100k. Most of these towns have population less than that of a district in the city , where a LT is in charge. All these towns could eliminate their self promoting Cheifs and save thousands of dollars. That would be the only benefit. Also it would become apparent that alot of these smaller towns don't even need regular Police patrols, radar now and then would be sufficient.

  13. #13
    Member Linda_D's Avatar
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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't the consolidation of the village and town police departments in Lancaster actually result in higher costs than if the two departments had operated separately? I seem to remember lots of discussion of this a while ago.
    Your right to buy a military weapon without hindrance, delay or training cannot trump Daniel Bardenís right to see his eighth birthday. -- Jim Himes

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    Poor planning/leadership

    I believe it did. Initially it would. There are start up costs. Giambra doesn't tell us about that. He just shoots from the hip and portrays this delusional idea. No research or planning, just put it out there. Thats why a 10 yr plan would be needed, to realistically make adjustments, not Joels overnight dream. He has proven himself to lack insight. This is just another example.

  15. #15
    Member LaNdReW's Avatar
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    Again...

    Let the community itself provide police services...

    Too expensive, you don't want to pay? Oh well, no police.

    Maybe this will help stop sprawl.
    "When fascism comes to America it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross." - Sinclair Lewis (1935)

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