By Jann Wiswall
As part of an ongoing effort to reduce costs and avoid increasing taxes, the Ellicottville Village Board has abolished the position of village constable effective June 1, 2014. Policing of the village will be performed by the Town of Ellicottville’s Police Department.
Elimination of the position will save the village $70,000–$80,000 per year or more, according to board member Greg Cappelli.
Finding ways to cut the budget is an annual task, but with increases in the costs of insurance, pensions, workers compensation, sand, salt and most other materials needed to keep the village running, this year’s cuts were especially important.
“We don’t want the burden of these cost increases to be on the backs of our residents through taxes, so we had to look at cuts,” Mayor Charles Coolidge explained.
Cappelli and Deputy Mayor Bob Brogcinski were asked by the Coolidge to review the proposed 2014 budget. They looked into eliminating the constable position after noting considerable duplication of services. After meeting with Town Supervisor John Burrell, they became confident that the town police department would be able to effectively handle the responsibility without any disruption of service or citizen safety.
“The town has always policed the village,” said Cappelli, “and its force, led by Auge, does a great and highly professional job. There is no question they can handle it, and we believe there will be advantages to having a single force. It made all kinds of sense to eliminate the position.”
Going forward, a committee composed of Coolidge, Burrell and a member of each board is being formed and will meet monthly to keep both municipalities fully informed about police activity and coverage.
The village also has worked with the town to reduce its share of maintenance costs for use of the Village/Town Hall.
Burrell said the town’s budget, which already has been approved and adopted, will not be impacted by the village’s decision and that town residents will not see an increase in their effective tax rate.