WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- Westchester County's Board of Legislators unanimously approved the contract for consolidating police with Mount Kisco.
The vote on Monday night passed by 16-0 in favor of the contract, which is officially called an intermunicipal agreement (IMA). The legislature's passage came roughly three weeks after the IMA was unanimously approved by Mount Kisco's Village Board of Trustees.
County legislators praised the deal, which would take effect this year and run until Dec. 31, 2019.
Legislator David Gelfarb, who chairs one of the two committees that moved the IMA to the full board , said it will improve policing services in Mount Kisco.
Legislator Peter Harckham, whose district includes Mount Kisco, noted the problems that the village has had in sustaining a local police department, including the costs of overhead and maintenance. Harckham added that the merger will make the neighborhoods of Mount Kisco safer and provide more police at night.
During public comment prior to the vote, residents weighed in on the deal.
Village Trustee Karen Schleimer, who voted in favor of the IMA, said it will “greatly enhance the police presence and enhance services in Mount Kisco while reducing our overhead and expenses.”
Police Officer Kevin Reilly, a village resident whose family has lived in Mount Kisco for more than a century, praised the consolidation agreement.
“Policing in America is changing, and we need to change.”
Benefits include, Reilly argued, saving money, providing better community policing and sharing services.
Patric Kilkenny, a Mount Kisco resident who has been critical of consolidation, offered his legal opinion about the IMA, arguing that there is a framework for holding a referendum. Village Attorney Whitney Singleton previously told Daily Voice that there is no framework to have one and that state law offering it only applies to abolishing police departments. Mount Kisco is not abolishing the village police department, officials previously noted; a chief and some patrol staff are set to remain.
The IMA calls for Mount Kisco to pay Westchester. It includes a starting annual price of $6,437,548, which would escalate to $6,936,035 by 2019. Under the agreement, the Westchester County Department of Public Safety would provide 25 dedicated police personnel to Mount Kisco, including 17 patrol officers. Mount Kisco's police station would be used by the county police.
Village police personnel would resign their posts and be hired individually by the county, Mayor Michael Cindrich said at a recent meeting.
Cindrich previously mentioned that the agreement is subject to approval from the county's Board of Acquisition and Contract in addition to the Board of Legislators.
Asked whether the Board of Acquisition and Contract will need to vote on the agreement, Board of Legislators Chairman Michael Kaplowitz was not sure.
If the Board of Acquisition and Contract has to take up the IMA, signs suggest an approval is likely, as two of the three members include Kaplowitz and County Executive Rob Astorino. Kaplowitz was among those who voted in favor of the agreement on Monday, while Astorino has touted the deal.
Previous coverage on the consolidation is available here.