Tonawanda News

NT

May 10, 2012

CALL FORWARDING

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Council President Rich Andres said after some consternation among the council, consolidation simply made sense.

"At first the reaction was 'no way.' " he said. "But as we sort of peeled this back a little bit, we found that not only should it be done, but it has to be done."

From an economic standpoint, Ortt said in the city will save approximately $1.2 million in salaries and benefits alone during the next five years and hundreds of thousands more by avoiding the purchase of a new dispatch system, while the municipality will stop paying any dispatcher salaries after 2017.

"The North Tonawanda Police Department is still going to be the North Tonawanda Police Department," Ortt said. 

Voutour said the dispatchers would begin training prior to July 1, due to the complexities of the system and the fact that the new employees would be covering all of the county's municipalities under the its purview, both police and fire, including North Tonawanda.

The county and the city have also applied for a $400,000 state Local Government Efficiency Grant that would be split evenly between both governmental entities. 

While Ortt said the process has been a difficult one, with a state mandated 2 percent tax cap and a dwindling populace, decisions that veer toward consolidation are going to become more common. 

"The decisions allow us to stay under the tax cap and fund the real priorities," he said. "Because at the end of the day you have a limited pie and we're having the county provide a fundamental service for taxpayers."

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