East Syracuse (WSYR-TV) -- The Village of East Syracuse Police Department will not be eliminated. A public referendum was held Tuesday night to decide the fate of the department and the results are in. In a 300 to 531 vote it was decided that the East Syracuse Police Department would not be dissolved.
The current budget will carry the Village of East Syracuse and their police department through June 1, 2013.
Greeted by signs at each intersection, voters faced a campaign as they arrived at the Village Hall.
Village resident Michael Myers voted to keep village police. “They know the village, they have a very good response time and they know the people in the village, unlike, you know, DeWitt doesn’t know the village,” he said.
57 year resident Betty Buck voted to abolish the police department. She said, “I see the village of Minoa, which I came from originally and they seem to be doing fine and they merged with another police force. I think it’s happening everywhere. Money is a big issue.”
Buck says the issue became divisive for long-time neighbors. With abolishment off the table, the mayor believes a much bigger challenge lies ahead as the village faces a new budget.
"Services would have to be scaled back or a dramatic tax increase. It's one or the other,” East Syracuse Mayor Dan Liedka told NewsChannel 9.
Police Chief Don Morris celebrated his five year anniversary with the department on Tuesday. He began his morning – on boss’s day – not knowing whether he would have a job next year. By Tuesday night, he was pleased to see the voting turnout.
"If there are cuts, there would definitely be some changes that have to be made and obviously the contract with the union is expired, so I'm sure they would get involved and they have made concessions in the past,” explained East Syracuse Police Chief Don Morris.
Voters hoping to save the department say they're prepared to make the sacrifice.
"I think that more village residents will probably get involved with looking at the budget to see if there are more creative ways to save money. A lot of us just aren't as involved as we should be,” said Terry Andrianos.