LAKEWOOD - A contract extension between the village of Lakewood and the town of Busti will continue police services in both municipalities.
On Tuesday, the Lakewood Village Board approved a one-year contract extension for police services with Busti. Busti officials approved the same extension earlier this month.
The one-year extension will increase the amount town residents pay by $20,000, to a total of $360,000 in 2013. In recent years, the annual amount the town would pay for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department would usually increase $10,000 each year.
Since June, officials from both municipalities have met several times to discuss a new contract agreement on how much each should pay annually for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department. The Lakewood-Busti Police Department budget, with pension and insurance costs, is around $1.3 million a year.
David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, told The Post-Journal on Wednesday an agreement between the two municipalities had to be in place by the first of the year or the Lakewood-Busti Police Department could have seen drastic cuts.
''Jan. 1 was a drop-dead date. If there was no agreement, the police department basically wouldn't exist,'' he said. ''In the interest of not having to lay off a lot of police department employees and avoid a giant mess, I offered a deal of $360,000 to get us past Jan. 1 to not stop police services.''
Wordelmann said the vote to approve the contract extension was not unanimous. Joe Troche, village trustee, voted no. Wordelmann said Troche didn't agree to the contract because Busti officials refused to approve a clause to also be responsible for future costs from this year.
''We (Lakewood officials) were seeking a clause to make Busti responsible for costs like pension costs and those types of things. Things that are costs in future years. We feel they are responsible to help cover that,'' he said. ''They didn't agree to that, so that is what created the board member to vote against (the contract extension).''
Wordelmann said village officials want to enter into negotiations soon to reach a long-term agreement with town officials.