DERRY — An effort to cut the Derry Police Departments budget by about $31,000 for overtime failed in a narrow vote Thursday night during a Town Council Budget workshop.
Councilor Thomas Cardon proposed that the department’s overtime budget of $ 731,522 be cut by $31,522.
Police Chief Edward Garone was asked by councilors how the department would be affected if overtime was cut. Garone said the department would essentially have to cut slightly more than one patrol shift per week and be left shorthanded in some cases.
“What we do is we run short, that’s the long and the short of it,” Garone said.
Garone said that a large portion of the department’s overtime budget, about 50 percent, is devoted to covering officers’ absences. Another 20 percent is devoted to training, which is a mandatory expense for the department, and 10 percent each for court assignments and special operations. Only about 10 percent is then left for patrol shifts, he said.
Capt. Vern Thomas said cutting the overtime budget could produce situations where a second officer might not be available to provide backup for domestic disturbance or fight incidents.
“We are on a balancing act with the overtime money we have,” Thomas said.
Councilors voted 4-3 to reject Cardon’s motion, with Councilors Al Dimmock, Phyllis Katsakiores, David Fischer and Michael Fairbanks voting not to cut the overtime.
Then council later voted 7-0 to move the department’s proposed Fiscal Year 2015 budget of $8,794,064 forward.