I actually think that the sheriff takeover would have worked out well for Yorkville residents: More crime-fighting resources would have been available at less cost. No doubt, on a personal level, Sheriff Maciol would have been able to make this work because he came out of village police ranks, was a village mayor, and knows the territory.By a vote of 538 to 100, Yorkville residents decided they didn’t want the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office patrolling the village . . .
Shannon Conner remained concerned about the safety and response time with abolishing the department.
“The economy is bad. Crime is increasing. Things happen,” she said. “It’s nice to have police right there and not have to wait.”
However, there is always the issue of local control, and that is a biggie. In this day and age when government seems to be out of the control of those whom it supposedly serves, you cannot blame people for wanting to hold on to the little control they have left. And in that sense, yesterday's vote was a big win for the People of Yorkville.
But Why is this a Win for City Taxpayers?
The plan also included enhanced investigative and supervisory services, and the Sheriff’s Office would take on any liability costs.
The Sheriff's Office is funded by County taxpayers. County taxpayers, thus, would be picking up the liability costs resulting from Yorkville policing. Without a thorough analysis of costs including things such as overtime, pension contributions, etc., and a comparison with what Yorkville residents would have paid into the Sheriff's Office, the potential exists to shift a lot of local policing costs onto County residents -- many of whom are also City residents (Utica, Rome) or residents of Towns with their own police departments (New Hartford, Whitestown). City residents could have wound up paying for part of the cost of local policing in outlying villages taken over by the Sheriff's Office, in addition to paying for their own local policing. In that respect the Yorkville vote is a win for Utica residents (and those of N.H. and Whitestown, too) because an opportunity for cost shifting has been avoided.
No doubt this issue or others similar will come up in the future as local governments struggle to make ends meet. "Consolidation" or "shared services" will be the buzz words for local government leaders. Every time they are used should be a "red flag" that cost-shifting from one group of taxpayers onto another group may be afoot. "Local control" will always be the buzz word for voters. But at what cost?
At some point reform of local government will have to occur because financially what we are doing now is unsustainable.
Can we have both consolidation AND local control? I think we can. All it takes is for us to look at each other and see who has similar characteristics and interests -- and then join forces for the common good.