BUSTI - After months of discussing and negotiating, officials from Busti and Lakewood are near an agreement.
Since June, officials from both municipalities have been meeting to determine how much each municipality should pay annually for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department. As of now, Lakewood pays 73 percent of the budget while Busti pays 27 percent. The Lakewood-Busti Police Department budget, with pension and insurance costs, is around $1.3 million a year.
Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor; Richard Sanders, Busti councilman; David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor; and Joseph Troche, Lakewood trustee, are the municipal officials involved in the negotiations. Lakewood officials have said they expect town residents to pay more than they do now for the police department. Busti officials have said they want to find a fair number for both town and village residents to pay for police services. During the negotiations, the two sides have discussed a formula to calculate how much each municipality should pay based on how often the police department responds to calls in Busti or Lakewood.
Robbins said contract numbers have been passed back and forth between both municipal officials. Officials from both sides haven't said publicly the contract numbers being discussed.
''We're trying to find a good middle ground,'' Robbins said.
The Busti supervisor said, after the Busti Town Board meets Tuesday, an agreement should be near. The board typically meets on the first and third Monday of the month, but because of Labor Day they will be meeting on Tuesday.
''I will talk to the board (Tuesday). There should be an agreement after our next meeting,'' Robbins said.
Troche also said the two sides are nearing an agreement. During a recent Lakewood Village Board meeting, he said a contract has been drawn up and is being reviewed by the village's attorney, Edward Wright.
''We will present a final draft to Busti (officials),'' Troche said after the contract has been reviewed.
Troche said an agreement could be reached in less than two weeks.