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Tarrytown Residents Oppose Staffing Cuts in Budget

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – News that a proposed 2012-13 budget would mean the layoff of a police dispatcher has not been met favorably by Tarrytown residents.

“How can you tell me he's not needed?” resident John Stiloski asked.

Tarrytown Village Administrator Michael Blau has brought a $26.1 million budget to the board of trustees for review and modification. The tentative budget would raise taxes by 4.87 percent or about $197 for the average single-family home.

The proposed budget would also mean reducing positions in the Recreation Department to part-time status.

Blau said the proposed staffing changes were made by him after village staff had prepared a budget that featured a tax rate increase around 6 percent. Blau said he looked at 12 positions where changes might be made and decided to cut from police and recreation.

Stiloski told trustees during a recent board meeting that he often works with police in his towing business and he thinks a dispatcher is an essential part of the police force. Stiloski also criticized the village for spending $100,000 as part of a grant to improve the Tarrytown Lakes trails instead of keeping staff within the budget.

“Can we operate without a dispatcher? Ultimately, I believe we can,” Blau said, noting he had discussed the proposal with Police Chief Scott Brown. Blau said county laws already require a police officer to be in the building at all times and that officer would take over dispatching duties.

“Is it the perfect situation? Probably not,” Tarrytown Mayor Drew Fixell said in response to the criticisms. But he noted, “it does not lead to life and safety risks.”

Resident and former trustee candidate Eleanor Miscioscia questioned why the village chose to hire a part-time parking enforcer about two weeks ago and then lay off a dispatcher now. Blau responded that the parking enforcer position is something that generates revenue for the village.

Pat Russell, CSEA labor relations specialist, encouraged village officials to restore the staffing cuts to the budget.

“CSEA is very concerned by the proposal to eliminate the police dispatcher position and reduce the senior recreation position to part-time,” she said. “We urge you to restore these positions to your budget.”

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