Chief: Political leaders need to invest in Police Department
UTICA, N.Y. (WKTV) - The Utica Common Council voted Friday to pass their proposed budget with their own amendments, overriding Mayor Robert Palmieri's vetoes. With a property tax increase of 1.99%, their budget will decrease the overtime budgets for the Utica Police Department, Utica Fire Department and Department of Public Works by 10%. Another part of the Council's budget was to not give UPD money for new vehicles. Police Chief Mark Williams requested new vehicles for what he says is necessity. Chief Williams says the cars get used around the clock and are in need of replacement as cars have been breaking down on their way to calls. Police Chief Mark Williams says the department is already running at a minimum. Williams told NEWSChannel 2, "I have no other choice but to make it work, but the reality is this, but at some point, our political leaders in this city have to invest in the police department. It's been devastated in lieu of the budget for the last four years." Williams continued, "They have taken staffing, supervision, equipment, now they're attacking salary lines. I get it, the citizens feel they are taxed to death, but these same citizens don't want their services cut so there should be a balance here that's healthy for the citizens and the departments that are expected to provide these services and that's what's missing." The budget takes effect April 1. Six votes were necessary for the Common Council to override the mayor's vetoes and all six members in attendance voted in favor of their budget.