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Consolidation meets cold feet in CNY

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Consolidation meets cold feet in CNY
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East Syracuse voted down a plan to dissolve its police force and enter into an enhanced services agreement with DeWitt, despite expected benefits. As our Sarah Blazonis tells us, it's not the only community to speak out against sharing services.

ONONDAGA COUNTY, N.Y. -- East Syracuse Mayor Danny Liedka said the village's financial future is anything but certain after residents voted down the proposed dissolution of its police force.

"There's no frills in our budget now, so it comes down to either your workforce or break the tax cap and raise taxes," said Mayor Liedka.

It is a struggle that can be seen statewide. Voters in Oneida County rejected a plan to dissolve the Yorkville Police Department last year, and one district in Herkimer County voted no on a proposed four-district merger.

People against those plans said they didn't want to lose their community identity, even though tax savings, or better services would be the result.

But, it's a different story in the Town of Clay. Residents here voted to consolidate their police force with the sheriff's department five years ago. The town supervisor said they're still seeing the benefits to this day.

"We were able to generate a 20 percent savings, and over the past five years, taxes have increased in the Town of Clay just about up to the 20 percent savings, but if we were the other way, our taxes might be 20 percent to 30 percent higher," explained Clay Town Supervisor Damian Ulatowski.

"They can look at and say that worked in Clay, that worked in the county," said Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney. "The more of that we put together, I hope people will go along with it."

But Liedka fears it may take more to get voters' attention.

"Unfortunately, I think it's going to take somebody to fail, a municipality to fail, before people realize this is really serious stuff," he said.

Residents will have to wait until next spring to see what the future has in store for East Syracuse.

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