Citing extremely high costs for the level of service they feel they are receiving, the Village of Airmont has reached out to the Village of Suffern to inquire about switching police departments.
Airmont currently uses the Ramapo Police Department as does every village in the Town of Ramapo with the exception of the Villages of Suffern and Spring Valley which both maintain their own fully-staffed and highly regarded departments.
Although no hard numbers are available at this time, apparently Airmont can save taxpayers a considerable amount of money while Suffern can use the extra income especially since Novartis is leaving in a few years.
Suffern is one of the few villages in the area to maintain all of its own services including police, fire, water, and Department of Public Works.
Local residents seem to be in favor of the deal. “I’m tired of the taxpayers in west Ramapo picking up the tab for those in east Ramapo” said an Airmont resident who did not want to be identified, “there is so much nonsense going on in this Town that I can’t blame Airmont for wanting to get out.”
Both the Suffern and Ramapo Police Departments are accredited. Suffern currently has approximately 30 members while Ramapo has about 102. The Suffern department would have to grow in order to police Airmont but initial estimates show that Airmont would get at least triple the coverage for considerably less cost to the taxpayers each year.
“I think that this presents a great opportunity for both villages” said Suffern Mayor Trish Abato, “Our Police department led by Chief Clarke Osborn has done a great job in Suffern and he and the men and women in our department can deliver that same level of professionalism and dedication to the residents of Airmont.”
Suffern Deputy Mayor Jo Meegan-Corrigan echoed the sentiment saying “Everyone knows how safe Suffern is and what a great job our people do. If we can save the Village of Airmont money while providing a higher level of service and bring additional revenues to our Village everybody benefits.”
In order to make the change, legislation needs to be changed at the state level. With consolidation of services a hot topic within the Cuomo administration, this should be a no-brainer.
“I have nothing against the Town of Ramapo Police department” said Village of Airmont Trustee Ralph Bracco, “Ramapo Police Chief Brower has told me numerous times that Airmont gets one police car for the entire village and that’s all we’re going to get. As an elected official I have to do what’s in the best interests of the taxpayers in Airmont. If we can save money and get more coverage then we have to look at that.”