Board turns down Village of Keeseville request for security

ELIZABETHTOWN The village of Keeseville will have to find some other way to bolster its security force. The Essex County Finance Committee met on Monday, June 16 and decided to forego a request by the village to contract with the sheriffs department for a part-time foot patrol on Front Street. The request was originally presented by Sheriff Henry Hommes in a June 11 public safety committee meeting. The village sought additional security to address issues with young people frequently loitering downtown. According to the proposed resolution, the village of Keeseville would offer to pay up to $10,000 in order to contract the sheriffs department for the new security force. At the time, board members decided to hold off on the decision amongst questions of long-term consequences. Is it going to mean additional patrols? Is it going to mean additional employees? asked Moriah Supervisor Tom Scozzafava at the June 11 meeting. The biggest question is: are the taxpayers of Keeseville paying twice because they are also paying for that service through their county tax? he asked. At the time, Scozzafava mulled the possibility that approving the resolution could lead other towns to abandon their own police forces in favor of a similar, more cost-effective contract. If the county can provide this police service for this number of dollars and its costing the town this number of dollars, maybe we ought to consider contracting out with the sheriffs department, he said. The issue was revisited Monday, June 16 at the finance committee meeting, a committee that Scozzafava chairs. The proposal was ultimately floored as committee members continued to voice similar concerns. I think this is a pretty slippery slope to start down, said Newcomb Supervisor George Canon. Once this town or that town starts looking to Essex County for assistance in their law enforcement, it puts us into a different picture altogether. I dont think that is the job of Essex County. I dont think that is where we should go and I dont think that is where we should be. North Elba Supervisor Robert Politi affirmed that statement If you are going to go that route, the village of Lake Placid has a budget of well over one million dollars a year for police and I would just as soon the county took it over, he said. Ticonderoga Supervisor Robert Dedrick agreed saying, If a town has a concern about public safety and there is any criminal intent within the town, then you go out and you hire [security] and you put it within your town budget. Hommes explained that the village of Keeseville used to have its own police force, but apparently it turned out to be cost-prohibitive. He believed that the village looked to the county because contracting with the state police would have cost the village more in comparison. Some board members wondered why existing services couldnt be better applied to the situation. Scozzafava asked Hommes if road patrol deputies could concentrate more on hot spots like Front Street. Then I would be questioned as to why I am catering to this place and not this place, Hommes replied. Scozzafava noted that a budget of $10,000 would not go far considering costs such as vehicles, insurance, and fuel. Board members posed suggestions about other options for the village. I think they need to open their dialogue with the state police, Chesterfield Supervisor Gerald Morrow said.

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