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New Castle Police Plan Cuts to Overtime Budget

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Chappaqua schools will have to start looking elsewhere for help at school dances and football games, as the New Castle Police Department said it will no longer be able to provide the district detail for such events. This expected change will take place next year due to overtime budget cuts, according to New Castle Police Chief Charles Ferry.

“I just can’t get officers to do that anymore,” Ferry said at Tuesday night’s town board work session.

To help local governments comply with the state-mandated 2 percent tax cap, the police department is among many being asked to do more with less in 2012. Providing school detail, which is paid for using overtime budget, will no longer be feasible for the department.

In four years, the police department has cut overtime by more than 50 percent, Ferry said. For the 2012 budget, he requested $225,000 in overtime expenses, which is down from $503,516 in 2008.

“I think I can meet that by doing some changes,” said Ferry. “There’s going to be certain types of time off that we won’t allow people to take off and backfill with overtime.”

Ferry was able to come in with a tight budget, just $206,216 higher than 2011, despite pay increases and injuries to officers. According to the police chief, three officers in the department missed the first six months of the year due to injuries and their hours were often replaced by officers on overtime.

Other types of overtime include storm emergencies, parades, recreation activities, court attendance, mandatory training and casework.

Another thing the department cut substantially for the tentative budget was $2,000 for equipment. Ferry said he does not anticipating purchasing any major items. Despite what he calls an "aging fleet," the department has also only requested one new vehicle.

“Four of our cars are up close to 80,000-90,000 miles,” said Ferry. “So I don’t know if next year I’ll only be able to ask for one again, but I believe I can get by with one this year.”

A surplus of ammunition and using 1,000 less gallons of fuel than anticipated from last year also helped in keeping a tight budget with the police department.

“Not only did he slash numbers, he had rationale for all the slashes and we’re very, very impressed with his budget,” said Penelle Paderweski, town administrator. “If we could give out a budget award, he would really get it.”

The overall preliminary budget for the department is $4,691,240 and will be presented as part of the 2012 town preliminary budget at a public hearing on Nov. 22.

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