Residents in the Village of East Syracuse had the final say Tuesday night on whether to keep their local police department intact. In the end, an overwhelming majority voted against the dissolution proposal. Our Iris St. Meran spoke with people as they headed out of the polls and tells us how this was very emotional vote.
ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- Everywhere you looked Tuesday, there were signs of support for East Syracuse Police. But behind closed doors, village residents were asked to decide on the department's fate.
The proposed referendum called for the abolishment of the East Syracuse Police Department. The village would have entered into a shared services agreement with the Town of DeWitt.
Six officers would have transferred to DeWitt and the village would have paid the town $400,000 for five years.
A deal the mayor says would have been financially beneficial for residents.
"Our tax rate decreases substantially. The net savings is $2.49 per thousand of assessed value on the village tax payers. Their town tax will go up, but their village tax will go down for a net savings on a $100,000 property, it's $249," said East Syracuse Village Mayor Danny Liedka.
But voters we spoke with say, it was not about the money and they're willing to pay the price to keep the number of officers and patrols the same.
"I don't believe that $249 on $100,000 assessed home tax savings is worth it. When you take a look at the debt load and the other information that's available, taxes are going to go up either way," John Kosmetatos said.
Terry Andrianos, said, "Money was really not an issue for anyone here. At the meetings, people were saying they'll pay more. So I don't think money was the issue. Having the police coverage was the big issue."
Many people held signs and honked their horns in support of saving the police department.
But there were those in favor of abolishing the police department. One landlord who couldn't vote because she lives in the town says she'll have to pass on the impact of higher taxes to her tenants.
"There will be a greater cost to the landowners and of course that would reflect in possible raising rent to the tenants," Diane Szlamczynski said.
A move she wishes didn't to make.
There were 531 no votes on the referendum and 300 votes of yes to abolish.
Village Mayor Danny Liedka, who proposed the dissolution, called it a "crushing defeat."