BUSTI - Negotiations continue between Busti and Lakewood officials on how much each municipality should pay for the Lakewood-Busti Police Department.
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.
David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor, said reaching an agreement has taken longer than anticipated. He is scheduled to meet with Jesse Robbins, Busti supervisor, today to continue negotiations.
''We're struggling right now to make numbers match up,'' Wordelmann said. ''We're still negotiating. We have to keep working at it.''
Wordelmann said part of the problem is costs in the police department's budget continue to rise. He said it is difficult to determine a percentage both municipalities should pay on costs that vary from year to year.
''If it was a fixed cost, for the next six years, you could say things will be this much every year. With costs going up every year, with state pension costs and things like that, it is hard to come up with an exact number.''
Robbins said he has not talked to Wordelmann since the mayor met with the Lakewood Village Board on Monday. He said he will meet with Wordelmann today and continue talks.
''We're negotiating to come up with the best solution for both sides,'' he said. ''We're making sure everyone is treated fairly, and we get the biggest bang for your buck. In all fairness, we get 37 percent of services. We should be working toward that number in payment.''
In the 2013 Busti tentative budget, town officials have appropriated $352,500 toward the police department. The total was $340,000 in 2012 and $330,000 in 2011.