The town of Yorktown will field a police K9 unit in 2011 under a budget agreement reached this weekend that includes an offer of free veterinary care from the town’s newest state legislator.
Assemblyman-elect Steve Katz, a Yorktown resident and owner of a Bronx veterinary practice, offered to provide veterinary care at no charge to Caeser and Moose, the Yorktown Police Department’s two German shepherds, according to Councilman Terrence Murphy.
“I’m here to help all my constituents, both two-legged and four-legged, as promised,” said Katz, a Republican. “If this will help make the budget more palatable and we can keep the K9 corps, then I’m there.”
Katz made the offer to care for Caeser and Moose, the department’s two German shepherds, after he was approached by Councilman Terrence Murphy, who learned the K9 unit was eliminated under the supervisor’s proposed budget.
“I don’t know why it was even put in there,” Murphy said of the budget cut. “For a measly $4,000, if it can save one life it’s priceless.”
Supervisor Susan Siegel cited declining use of the unit over the last four years and noted the cost also included $4,000 stipends to each of two K9 officers.
“I’m not questioning the value of the dogs,”?Siegel said. “But I’m saying the county offers that service. Perish the thought that we needed it because we have a lost child. The county comes in and provides it.”
Board members upheld her decision to leave two police positions vacant but reversed her proposal to cut a part-time support position at the town museum.
Siegel opposed the tentative budget adopted by the Town Board because it raises projected revenue from sales tax by $100,000 and takes $150,000 from fund balance to offset the tax rate. The former is unrealistic, in her view, and the latter jeopardizes the town’s fiscal standing by leaving it with too little cash on hand.
The general tax rate would increase by 2.45 percent, less than the 3.65 percent she first proposed. Taxpayers with a typical $100,000 assessment who receive town services like sewer and water would see a 1.3 percent tax hike. Those without such services would see a 1.9 percent hike.
A public hearing is set for Dec. 2 on what Councilman Nick Bianco called a?“lean, lean budget.”
“We’re just going to have to do more with less right now until we get over this hurdle,” Bianco said. “I would like to put the two officers back but at this time we just can’t.”
File photos: Katz and Murphy/The Journal News