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UPD: Budget Cuts Mean Less Police Presence At Saranac Thursdays

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – You may see less police presence during the upcoming popular Saranac Thursday’s event on Varrick Street. The Utica Police Department is facing tough budget cuts and officials say the lack of money is going to impact the number of officers on the street during the 16-week event.

Public Information Officer, Sgt. Steve Hauck explains, “We would prefer to keep the amount of presence that we have down there now, we think it’s been working. Over the years it’s been pretty successful down on Varrick street, and I think part of that is because people feel safe. We want, obviously, people to feel safe and we want to keep patriants safe but that comes at a cost and it’s something the city just can’t absorb right now.”

Some bar owners are balking at the amount of money they are being asked to pay to keep the same level of police presence. One bar owner says, UPD is asking for $20,500 for the public safety protection. Sgt. Hauck says all sides are still negotiating a price. “And, I don’t know if that’s something we would really want to devuldge anyway, if the bars want to go forward and they want to be able to keep the presence there then they understand that there’s going to be a cost of doing business,” he said. Hauck says bar owners should consider the cost a business expense, and adds that whatever price they do agree on, will be a fair amount to ensure a safe time for everyone.

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