continued Douglas said having an officer on campus also helps because incidents involving drugs, weapons and fighting must be reported to authorities. By having the officer there, one doesn’t have to be pulled off the streets for something that could be considered “minor,” he argued.
When asked, Douglas said he would recommend keeping at least one officer on staff because of the size of the district. He also said the district would continue to budget $45,000 in funding to contribute to SROs and DARE, but it is unlikely more money could be found.
“A full-scale elimination would definitely have an impact and effects,” he said.
“It took two and a half minutes to respond to Columbine,” said Douglas, giving a hypothetical situation of cases he’s studied. “With an SRO, some the situations that have happened since have minimized the travesties … because of their presence.”
Town’s compost doesn’t make green
The Town of Bethlehem’s Compost Facility operates at a loss, but officials say that’s something that could be changed. The Selkirk site operates at a cost of nearly $359,000 annually, but takes in just $46,000.
“If we were to close the facility, we would have to pay for another means of disposal which could be upwards of $250,000 for the year, so those two numbers alone don’t show the whole picture,” Rain said.
As part of the budget process, Rain and staff members from the Highway Department spent time touring the Schenectady County Compost Facility and the Oneida Herkimer Compost Facility in Utica to determine how to create more revenue for the town. A specialist was also brought to tour the Bethlehem facility, which takes in leaves for compost and then distributes the compost for free to residents, or for a fee for commercial use.
Bethlehem is considered by state officials to have created an exemplary product that is environmentally sustainable, said Rain, but factors like aging equipment, lack of a grinder and being unable to collect tipping fees have contributed to the facility being in the red. Also, the town has not been marketing its product to generate sales.