CAMBRIDGE -- The Cambridge Village Board has set a Sept. 1 deadline to move forward with a new shared police department contract with the village of Greenwich.
After that deadline, the intermunicipal arrangement the villages have shared for the past six years will be eliminated.
"Our board set a time line to either approve it on Sept. 1, or move to do away with it," Cambridge Mayor Mark Spiezio said on Tuesday.
An original agreement was crafted in 2004 between the two villages, which lie about 10 miles apart and currently share the administrative costs of a police chief and an assistant chief.
Each village has a population of about 1,900 who contribute to the administrative costs of policing their respective communities.
Work began to craft a new agreement nearly a year ago, with the goal of seeking more effective cost-saving measures that have been discovered since the time of the original pact.
Spiezio said he is optimistic the new deal will get done by the Village Board at the September meeting and explained that the board set the deadline in response to growing frustration over how long the revision process has taken. In addition, the village has incurred costs to hire outside legal services during the process.
Greenwich Mayor David Doonan said on Monday the two villages have agreed on the language of a new agreement.
Both mayors are planning to meet later this month to solidify the terms, which will include greater detail over how much each village spends independently for public safety related equipment and more precise monitoring of the amount of time officers spend in each village.
"That way, taxpayers in Cambridge are not subsidizing Greenwich and vice-versa. That's probably been the biggest concern," Spiezio said.
In crafting an agreement between the two villages, Spiezio said there aren't many good models to follow.
"There are growing pains, but it gets us to the point where we can evaluate the entire program."
The new contract will call for the formal creation of a police committee with representatives from both villages and the police department. The agreement will be in place for 12 months, after which it will be evaluated. If successful, it may be extended to a three- or a five-year term, Spiezio said.
"This agreement will hopefully be approved, and, in that time period, we can analyze if it's doing what it's supposed to do, which is primarily to save the villages some money," Spiezio said.
One new measure has already been implemented and is saving money, said George Bell, chief of the Cambridge-Greenwich Police Department.
Earlier this year, the department's two full-time officers were sworn in by both villages, granting them official capacity in either municipality.
"It's given us much more flexibility with swapping schedules," Bell said. He estimated the measure has saved about $500 per week since it went into effect earlier this year.