Village Of Owego Passes Budget

By Gabe Osterhout

July 22, 2010 Updated Jun 27, 2006 at 12:24 AM EDT

After an hour of public comment, the village board approved the 2006-2007 budget by a vote of 4 to 2.

"We think we've come to a consensus, something the taxpayers will be happy with, that's who we serve," says Owego Mayor John Loftus.

But not every tax payer agrees with the Mayor.

Some at the meeting were upset with the boards decision to eliminate two village police dispatcher positions.

Both held by long time village employees.

"They've given 34 years of law enforcement to our village," says Laura Rodd of Owego.

Attempts were made by taxpayers and some board members to keep the positions.

A petition with more than 200 signatures was brought to the meeting.

And, before the final vote, at least two trustees tried to put the positions back in the budget.

That would have meant a tax rate increase of 3.5 percent.

But that measure was voted down, much to the displeasure of the crowd.

"The sentiment has been very strong, yes, they do want their police protection," says Connie Sternberg of Owego.

Some people say the decision to cut police will not only affect how the village is protected, but how people view Owego.

"I want a village that will be inviting and that my hope was that we would maintain the integrity of this village," says Rodd.

Loftus says the decision won't hurt the Village, and will save it money.

He says the Tioga County Sheriff's Department can handle the extra calls, without a letdown in service.

The board had to adopt and submit it's budget proposal to New York State by July 1st.

The village's fiscal year runs from August First to July 31.

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