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Watkins sets hearing on consolidation   ADVERTISEMENT

Watkins sets hearing on consolidation

WATKINS GLEN—The Watkins Glen village will hold a public comment period of the police consolidation study at the municipal building, June 3 at 7 p.m.
Police Chief Tom Struble commented on the study at the Monday, May 20, village board meeting.  The document, which is funded by a grant, was commissioned to determine the feasibility and impact of shared service agreements or possible consolidation of the village’s police department with the Schuyler County Sheriff’s Department.  
Struble said that the study’s findings and recommendations were, “as expected,” he added, “I knew there would be some cost saving aspects.”
Trustee Paul Clifford said he thought the study was a “fair and unbiased representation of the facts.” Mayor Mark Swinnerton pointed out the study includes some shared service suggestions, and added, “on paper I think it does make sense.” He said that he had hoped Sheriff William Yessman had been able to attend the meeting and discuss the study’s recommendations.
During the meeting, the police chief also addressed future plans he had for the department, citing an interest in “community policing.”  Struble explained he would like to implement “proactive policing” which includes activities such as a bicycle patrol, officers on foot and other outreach activities.  The department currently has three bicycles, all of which were donated, said Struble, and the officers piloting those bicycles will all be certified in bicycle patrol.
In other business:
• The village board held a public hearing on the village’s 2013-14 general fund budget, Wednesday May 8.  The budget was passed, resulting in a minor overall net decrease from last year, explained Swinnerton.  He thanked the department heads and other village officials for their work in developing the budget and finding different ways to provide services at the same or less cost.
• The board also discussed compliance with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation consent order currently in place for the wastewater treatment plant.  Swinnerton described a continuing inflow and infiltration issue which substantially raises the amount of water reaching the wastewater facility within 30 minutes of a rain event. Superintendent of utilities Mark Specchio said repairing the village’s sewage system will be a “huge undertaking.”  The mayor pointed out even if the new proposed facility is constructed, these issues will still have to be corrected.
• Trustee Kevin Smith reminded the public there is mulch available for use by village residents. Interested individuals are free to pick up mulch or contact the village for more information.  
The next regularly scheduled village board meeting is June 3 at 7 p.m. in the municipal building.