TUCKAHOE, N.Y. – The Citizens Budget Advisory Committee – created by the Tuckahoe Board of Trustees in January to increase transparency and tap into the financial minds of the village – made several recommendations to the board on the village budget.
The committee, which is chaired by David Scalzo, emphasized maintaining the village's essential services while consolidating the police department and village court.
By eliminating the village court and consolidating into the Eastchester Town Court, the village could save $200,000 annually. This is a common practice that has been used to save funds around the state. The Tuckahoe Police Department already uses the town court when a Tuckahoe judge is unavailable. This would also lead to increased state funding for Eastchester.
The most controversial recommendation was to eliminate four “power of arrest” officer positions in the police department, which would save $550,000 each year. The department currently consists of 24 officers, plus Chief John Costanzo and his assistant. The CBAC determined that the village could stay well staffed with active duty officers working 220 shifts each year.
While the CBAC wants to consolidate the police staff, it recommends maintaining police outreach programs and the emergency response unit. The tactical unit operates out of a converted ambulance, which was donated, and training is done during volunteer hours, leading to minimal cost to the village.
“Given that the Emergency Response Unit is a joint venture between three different police departments, the CBAC believes that this is a good example of cross-governmental coordination and efficiency of services,” Scalzo said. “Additionally, the ERU provides better safety for the residents, while helping to ensure that all village officers are trained in the latest thinking in police and tactical techniques.”
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