1st Cobleskill cop merger meeting June 20


By Jim Poole

A meeting June 20 will give an up-close look at how the study about merging the Cobleskill Police and Schoharie County Sheriff’s Office will proceed.
Representatives from the Laberge Group, hired by the county Board of Supervisors, will outline their study at the Cobleskill Firehouse at 6pm.
It’s open to the public.
“we want everybody to be there, and not just from the Village of Cobleskill,” said Cobleskill Mayor Becky Terk who, with County Administrator Korsah Akumfi, is hosting the meeting.
“This could affect the whole county,” Mayor Terk added.
Both the Sheriff’s Office and Cobleskill PD are shorthanded; neither cover early-morning hours. Sharing services and officers could ease that problem, Mayor Terk believes.
County supervisors formed the Law Enforcement Merger Committee earlier this year, and the committee urged the full board to hire Laberge.
Supervisors did so in April at a cost of $50,000.
Merging the two departments––if it happens––is an emotional issue, so it’s “important to have a neutral third party” like LaBerge to do the study, Mayor Terk said.
Although she believes a merger would help with manpower, it could also relieve village taxpayers. The Police Department costs 87 percent of the village’s general fund tax levy, according to Mayor Terk.
Mayor Terk’s argued recently that because Cobleskill is the commercial center and serves the entire county, county taxpayers should share some of the law enforcement costs.
“Economically, it’s the right thing,” she said in an interview Saturday.
Mayor Terk expects LaBerge to examine contracts, benefits, scheduling, manpower, call volume and more, of the two departments.
She emphasized that the June 20 meeting won’t reveal any results because the study hasn’t even started.
Laberge will explain what’s ahead, and there will be a question-and-answer period.
“More than anything, I think it will be a listening session,” Mayor Terk said. “We’re trying to be 1,000 percent transparent.
“It’s an opportunity to understand the process and to know what’s going on from the people doing the study.”