Chatham police get new cruiser on schedule

CHATHAM — The Village Board approved Police Chief Kevin Boehme’s request to purchase a new police car at last week’s meeting. The new car will replace a 2004 model and is part of a vehicle replacement plan already budgeted for by the village.

The board also recognized Police Officer John J. Bell for 40 years of service. Officer Bell was given a plaque by the New York State Conference of Mayors for his many years on the force. Board member and Police Commissioner Patrick Wemitt presented the plaque to Officer Bell at the October 14 regular meeting.

Chief Boehme told the board and the 10 audience members at the meeting that the village approved a vehicle replacement program in 1989. Police cars in the village are replaced every 6 years. The current 2004 model police car has gone 145,000 miles, said Chief Boehme, and has already been taken out of service once this year for repairs.

The total cost for the new car and all the required modifications will be over $23,000. The board approved use of a bond anticipation note to pay for the new car over three year. The mayor said it would cost the village about $7,000 a year and the money is already in the budget. Chief Boehme said he asked for funding through the state Office of Criminal Justice Services but was turned down.

Representatives from the village court attended the meeting to ask the board for approval to apply for a grant to move the court from the smaller meeting room in the Tracy Memorial to the large upstairs room, where the Town Court already meets.

Village Court Clerk Kelly Baccaro said the court would seek $30,000 to cover the cost of building a moveable bench for the judge and upgrades to an office upstairs. She said the downstairs court was currently too small to accommodate the 50 or so people who come to court on Tuesday nights. The board approved the request.

Many of the villagers who attended the meeting were interested in discussing the budget. Village resident Joanne DelRossi asked about cuts that specific village departments could make. The mayor said that each department comes to the board with requests but the departments do not get everything they ask for.

The mayor also said that a surplus in this budget would cover the increase in village employee retirement costs for next year’s budget.

“We had a property increase when there were no cuts [in the budget], and now you’re telling us there is going to be a surplus,” said village resident Michael Richardson.

Mr. Richardson said that many villages in the state are raiding their reserves and making drastic cuts to balance budgets for next year. Mr. Boehme assured the people at the meeting that the village would have a balanced budget this spring.

The next board meeting will be Thursday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. at the Tracy Memorial. The village normally holds meetings on the second and fourth Thursday of the month but because of the Veterans Day and Thanksgiving holidays, next month’s meeting was moved to November 18 at 7:30 p.m. There will only be one meeting in November.

There will be a Veterans Day celebration in the village Saturday, November 6.

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