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Varick St. Merchants Forming Association To Help UPD Pay Police

Jeanette Lenoir, WIBX

Utica, NY (WIBX) – Some Varick Street merchants are organizing to ensure they maintain the same level of police protection during the upcoming popular Saranac Thursday’s event. That’s according to City of Utica Mayor Rob Palmieri, who says all sides have reached a tentative agreement to help cover the cost for the extra police presence.

He says a plan is still coming together but after several meetings with the merchants he said, “They were going to be forming an association and they were willing to share into some of the cost of the overtime for the police presence because what they want is to maintain and grow Saranac Thursday nights down on Varick street, so we had a very good conversation multiple times and they were 100-percent behind it.” He says the members are working with an attorney to form the association.

After forming the association, the members will split the bill with the Utica Police Department. “Well, the figures that they’re working with–it could be just for the overtime for the police department–well over $40,000, and that’s not taking into consideration the fire department, they have somebody down there, DPW, and that’s something that we’re going to do at this point, we’re just looking for a share of maybe half, and that would be in the neighborhood of roughly $20,000,” Palmieri said.

He says the money is to pay officers for the overtime they would have to work to ensure public safety during the 16-week event. The issue arose following the adoption of the city’s current fiscal year budget that included budget cuts to UPD and several other departments, including the fire department. One of the organizers of Saranac Thursdays, F.X. Matt Brewery, already pays UPD over $20,000 for the extra police presence the event requires.

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