Orangetown lawmakers did not reach a final decision about contracts with the at Tuesday's board meeting, but noted rising costs are presenting a problem for the town.
Supervisor Andy Stewart and other board members are with the Rockland County Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) that would retroactively implement 2.25 percent raises for 2011.
Going forward, town police would see a 2.25 percent raise for 2012, 2.35 percent raise for 2013, 2.45 percent raise for 2014 and 2.50 percent raise for 2015. Benefits would remain the same, officials noted.
"It costs more and more every year," Stewart said. "It's not really an affordable solution."
Three local lawmakers—Tom Diviny, Denis Troy and Paul Valentine—have already signed off on the agreement.
Stewart said the town is calling on New York State to mend the way arbitration is carried out. Currently, the PBA looks to neighboring towns and bases their numbers partially on that.
"Local governments have to have more latitude to negotiate," Stewart said.
Still, the final vote remains weeks out.
"That agreement would not be ready for a final decision next week, as we thought it might be," he said, noting one lawmaker will be absent, and citing other reasons, as well.
Stewart noted police are crucial to the town—"we have low crime rate, and we want to keep it that way," he said—but rising costs are a burden on taxpayers.
"Our hands are tied as a community and as taxpayers," Valentine said.
"We would rather have 90 or 100 police officers in a program we can afford, but unfortunately we're going to have fewer and fewer officers as the budget gets crunched," Stewart added.