MAYVILLE - The village of Silver Creek will have enhanced police services, but not for the amount of time it had agreed upon.
The legislature spent the better part of an hour on the topic during its Wednesday meeting, with the Democratic Caucus at one point adjourning to have a discussion with Sheriff Joe Gerace.
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. 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, which went into effect June 1. The resolution said the village would make quarterly payments to the county in the amount of $91,315.75 for 2013 and $94,413 for 2014.
While many legislators voiced that they were in favor of consolidated police services, many expressed their dissatisfaction as to the amount of money the county would be receiving in exchange for services. Additionally, several legislators were upset that the police services were already being provided, despite the agreement having not been seen by the legislature.
"There is not a person in this room who is not for consolidation of services," said Bill Coughlin, D-Fredonia. "But I don't like the way this thing has been handled. ... This contract has been negotiated. It's in effect. And now we're talking about it? That just doesn't make sense to me."
Others, however, saw the resolution as being a part of the legislature's duty to provide services.
"At the end of the day, the mayor has the right to enter into this agreement with the sheriff," said George Borrello, R-Irving. "Ladies and gentleman, everyone in this room, as far as I know, is really adamantly against unfunded mandates from the state. We complain about them. What we are doing here, by rejecting this contract, by altering this contract, is essentially saying to the village of Silver Creek, 'You've got to provide your own police coverage. We're not going to let you have the sheriff. And, oh, by the way, you've got to find your own way to pay for it.' Man, that sounds an awful lot like an unfunded mandate to me."
Charles Nazzaro, D-Jamestown, made a motion to amend the resolution to only provide police services through the end of 2013, which passed 13-11.
Voting in favor of the amendment were: Robert Duff, R-Sheridan; John Runkle, R-Stockton; Tom Erlandson, D-Frewsburg; Larry Barmore, R-Gerry; Victoria James, D-Jamestown; Paula DeJoy, D-Jamestown; Timothy Hoyer, D-Jamestown; Robert Whitney, D-Jamestown; Nazzaro; Vince Horrigan, R-Bemus Point; John Hemmer, R-Westfield; Tom DeJoe, D-Brocton; and Coughlin.
Voting against the amendment were: Keith Ahlstrom, D-Dunkirk; Shaun Heenan, D-Dunkirk; Borrello, Rod Rogers, G-Forestville; Rob Stewart, R-Ellington; Mark Tarbrake, R-Ellicott; Lori Cornell, D-Jamestown; Jay Gould, R-Ashville; Fred Croscut, R-Sherman; David Himelein, R-Findley Lake; and Bob Scudder, R-Fredonia. Paul Wendel, R-Lakewood, was absent.
After additional discussion, the legislature passed the amended resolution 22-2. Voting against the amended resolution were Ahlstrom and Heenan.