Public will have a voice in shared services options

Gwen Chamberlain

What is the best way to think about consolidating or sharing police and court services between the Village of Penn Yan and Yates County? The final answer to that question could come from the public after a report on the options is presented twice next month.

A report about the options for sharing services or consolidating will be shared in two public sessions on June 10. The first session will be held at 2 p.m. at the Penn Yan Village Hall. The second session will be held at 7 p.m. at the Yates County Office Building.

The purpose of the public meetings is to present a draft of the feasibility study that’s been completed with input from a committee of representatives from the village and county governments. Then, the steering committee wants to hear ideas from the public about the direction that should be taken.

Yates County Administrator Sarah Purdy explains there are no recommendations at this point because they want to hear ideas generated by the meetings. She says the report will help the public and the steering committee look at all the possibilities — from the Yates County Sheriff’s Department providing some of the services in the village of Penn Yan all the way to disbanding the Penn Yan Police Department.

The spectrum of options for the court systems will be similar, says Purdy.

“The study outlines various options,” she explains.

The study only looks at the options for law enforcement and the court systems in the village and the county. It does not include the town court systems, although at one point, Penn Yan officials asked Milo town officials to consider being a part of the study. But the Milo Town Board decided to not be part of the study.

Purdy explains the original grant of $46,800 from the New York Department of State was for a feasibility study of coordinated police and court services.

The project’s goal is to assess the services provided by the Village Police Department, identify those services that could be provided by the County Sheriff’s Department and evaluate alternative means of providing these services through cooperation and/or consolidation. The study also examines the feasibility of relocating the Village Justice Court from a village-owned building on Main Street to the County Courthouse and determine whether such relocation would result in cost savings, increased efficiency, or improved quality of service.