LEWISTON – An overflow crowd of about 75 people attended Monday’s meeting of the Village Board to show support for their town Police Department, which patrols the village.
The board is walking a fine line between trying to control costs in next year’s budget and providing continued or improved police services. Board members are looking for savings everywhere in the village budget, but Monday’s discussion centered on the Police Department.
Mayor Terry C. Collesano set the tone for the 45-minute discussion by re- affirming that the board “is satisfied with what the police have done, and we are on a fact-finding mission to save costs. To put rampant rumors to rest, we are in the discussion stage to provide police protection and to control costs; we’re not anywhere near a decision with the Town of Lewiston about police services.”
“Our police contract with the town has lapsed,” the mayor said, “and we have met with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and with Lewiston Police Chief Christopher Salada, but no action has been taken. Next, we will meet with town officials, and there will be a further discussion at the Oct. 29 meeting of the Town Board.”
Meanwhile, police patrols will continue unchanged in the village and in the rest of the town outside the village.
Town Supervisor Steven L. Reiter explained earlier that Lewiston essentially has a townwide Police Department that patrols the village, which is part of the town.
Because of the concentration of population in the 1-square-mile village and the increased need for police presence there, the village pays the town an annual fee for its services.
Village Trustee Bruce Sutherland said the per capita cost of police services therefore is higher in the village than in the rest of the town.
Though trying to minimize the cost, Sutherland and others said that many village residents would like to have a police substation in Village Hall at 145 N. Fourth St. with foot patrol officers on local streets. The present police station, serving the entire town, is in a former administration building on the campus of Lewiston-Porter Central School, 4061 Creek Road.