Silver Creek nears policing goal

MAYVILLE – The village of Silver Creek is one step closer to an agreement for enhanced police services.

Last week, the Public Safety Committee unanimously approved a resolution authorizing an agreement with the village of Silver Creek for enhanced police services.

The village had requested that the Office of the Sheriff provide enhanced services beginning June 1. Nicodemo Piccolo, Silver Creek mayor, told the committee the village previously only had three part-time officers and a full-time officer still on probation, in addition to its police chief.

“Basically, what was happening was, our police officers were leaving the village for better jobs and advancements and opportunities that they felt were better for them than working with the village,” Piccolo said. “The village, we are limited to certain funding for certain benefits.”

Because of the number of officers the village had, Piccolo said it could no longer provide full-time coverage to its residents.As a result, Piccolo approached Sheriff Joe Gerace and asked for police services.

According to Gerace, each of the village’s officers were approached to become sheriff’s department officers, however only one accepted the offer.

The resolution the Public Safety Committee said the village would make quarterly payments to the county in the amount of $91,315.75 for 2013 and $94,413 for 2014. Piccolo said the village is currently budgeting $600,000 of its $992,000 tax base to police services, so entering an agreement with the county would save the village of Silver Creek money.

“What was killing us was the legacy cost,” Piccolo said. “The retirement. … The operational cost was very, very expensive, too.”

Because the amount of money the village would be saving by entering into an agreement with the county was so high, Bill Coughlin, D-Fredonia, questioned why the county was not making any money off the deal.

“I don’t believe one bit that we are in the business to make money,” Gerace said.

Paul Wendel, R-Lakewood, questioned as to why the legislators were reviewing an agreement when services are already being rendered. Gerace and Piccolo both said because the village was in such need of police enforcement due to a lack of officers, the coverage was necessary immediately.

John Hemmer, R-Westfield, also raised the question as to whether the village would be able to make the agreed-upon payments to the county.

“This year, we were able to hold our taxes at bay,” Piccolo said. “Next year, chances are they are going to have to be increased. But, it’s nobody’s fault. It’s the tax base that we’re losing in the village.”

The committee unanimously approved the motion.

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