BETHLEHEM Bethlehem Police Chief Louis Corsi says his department is short on overtime in the town’s tentative budget to the tune of six figures.
Corsi told the Bethlehem Town Board at a Thursday, Oct. 11, budget workshop he feels the department would be $106,000 short on needed overtime and asked for the money to be restored. He was one of several department heads to speak at the workshop on the general and sewer funds and most said making reductions would be a challenge, but they could make do with some creative thinking.
The 2013 tentative budget calls for $7.2 million to be allotted to the Police Department out of a total $37.9 million budget. A savings of $242,000 is scheduled due to attrition, with three positions being eliminated, but no other cuts were made to the force and the department was granted about the same amount of funds for overtime as it was in 2012. With lowerstaffing though, Corsi does not think that will be enough.
“We took a heavy hit the first six months of (2012) and those were key positions, but we adjusted to try to compensate for the those losses and we have the supervisor’s insurance to the department that we would replace one of the patrol officers,” Corsi said. “We still have challenges ahead of us, but we are certainly willing to try and make this work.”
The police chief said his projections are the tentative budget would leave the department short 2,000 hours in overtime, of which a majority is contractually obligated. He also emphasized that lower staffing levels places additional stress on overtime schedules.
Corsi said he did not know where he would find the money for overtime and asked if it could be found somewhere else. But Supervisor John Clarkson said each year there is talk about cutting back on overtime as a cost-saving method, and each year nothing changes.