Adamstown officials tackle library, police concerns

By on August 12, 2015

 

Kids and cops were the main topics at the Aug. 4 meeting of the Adamstown Borough Council.

Borough officials learned that Cocalico-area families no longer have to go to the Ephrata or other neighboring libraries to participate in “Family Place.”

Adamstown officials are using their grant money for this popular program which connects parents with resources, programs and services offered at the library and other family service agencies, and it reaches out to non-traditional library users.

“It gives kids the foundation for future success both in school and in life,” said Kathy Thren, Adamstown’s library director. “It is probably one of the best programs in the nation. We’re so very proud we were awarded this grant to be able to do this.”

And it’s a blast for the kids.

The library will offer a five-week series of workshops for parents and caregivers of toddlers ages 12 to 36 months. Parents can play, read, and interact with their toddlers in a family-friendly setting, equipped with age-appropriate toys, books and games. Sometimes group activities are led. A different community resource specialist will be available at each session to talk informally with parents about their interests and concerns regarding their child’s development.

The sessions will last one day a week for five weeks, four times a year in the borough room starting on Sept. 28 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

Thren’s presentation of the program met with resistance from council when she asked to borrow the borough’s small main room. To set up and take down the program will be “over-extending themselves,” but Thren said she is up for the challenge.

The board agreed to lending the space in a 6-to-1 vote with Councilwoman Cindy Schweitzer opposing.

Thren said the total amount of the grant is $18,000. Most of the money went for training and the remaining amount will be used for supplies.

“We have begun looking at other locations to hold this program for 2016,” she said.

Also heard at council were citizens who have been attending the last few council meetings complaining of loud noises and disturbances in the borough.

“It’s time to make the hard and right decision and address it all,” Adamstown citizen Marty Hikes. “It’s gone on too long. The ordinance should cover everything.”

Council is looking in to ordinance plans from seven different counties to see which will fit Adamstown. Ordinances in place now are minimal and residents say they are are being driven to madness by constant fireworks, ATVs, gun shootings, dogs, motorcycles, and obnoxious neighbors at all times of the day and night.

This issue is “on council’s agenda,” but since they are more pressed with time on the police issue, it is not their priority, members said.

Hikes pressed council for a time frame to get the specific ordinances in place.

“It’s setting a time frame for you to act,” he said. “If you don’t set a time table for you to act, it won’t get done.”

Mayor Dean Johnson told him “by November.”

The noise ordinance would have to be enforced by the police, and should be discussed with them prior to adoption.

“We’re trying to come up with a suitable noise ordinance for Adamstown that will satisfy all the citizens in the borough,” Johnson said.

In police news, a meeting was held July 8 with Capt. William White from the Pennsylvania State Police police where some of council held a question -and-answer session about possible future police coverage for the borough. On July 22, the same type of meeting occurred with the chief of police from Spring Township, Berks County.

East Cocalico, Spring Township, Northern Lancaster Regional, Ephrata, and the state police are all in the running for possible police coverage to be contracted by Adamstown, beginning Jan. 1.

Johnson explained the latest findings:

“Some of the criteria we’re using to prepare these different forces is school coverage, a patrol presence &tstr; are we going to see them in our borough, the response time? It seems each has a different criteria for calculating response time. Some include certain things and others do not. We had a variety of things being included in response time and we don’t know how it’s being calculated unless you really get in to the details.

“We’re looking for this police force to be a long-term partner. We don’t want a one-year contract. We’re looking for someone to be here at every meeting to give us updates. We’re looking at their management and how they handle themselves, the insurance, their unfunded liability, their capital assets, cars, and buildings. This is just a taste of what we are using for our criteria. We don’t have any final numbers yet, but of the five remaining, we should have something by our September meeting.”

Councilman Dave Gundrum noted that Ephrata is the only force that required the borough to pay to get a quote and wondered if $1,500 is worth it.

“I struggled with whether to pay the $1,500 to get a quote from them,” Johnson said.

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