Denver Boro stays with E. Coc. Police
ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent
, Staff Writer
Denver Borough Council voted 5-2 to continue police coverage with East Cocalico Police Department for 2014 at their Oct. 14 meeting, held in the Denver Fire Company. A crowd of over 100 area residents attended.
Jim Brewer, Steve Binkley, Blake Daub, Mike Gensemer and Rodney Redcay all voted yes. Voting no was Mike Cohick and Walter Fink.
"They (East Cocalico Township Supervisors) have a past history of changing their minds," said council president Fink.
"They (East Cocalico Township Supervisors) never showed us that they wanted to work with us," said Cohick. "An example is the 1975 N. Reading Road property (originally slated to be a recreation center until it became evident that it was not financially feasible to move forward). Now we have a building with mold that’s falling down. We can’t get that resolved so how are we going to get the police issue resolved?"
"I’m upset that I’m being forced to come to meetings and I did not start this. They (East Cocalico Township Supervisors) started this," Cohick said.
"It’s time for Denver to take the lead and do what’s best for the community, regardless of what Adamstown and West Cocalico choose to do," Redcay said, prior to making his motion. "My motion is for Denver and does not depend on what the other two municipalities do."
Solicitor Josele Cleary stated that although Denver and East Cocalico understand the agreement to move forward, some details legally would best be put in writing. Cleary communicated these details to East Cocalico Supervisors, who met Oct. 16 and passed a resolution clarifying all points raised.
An advertised meeting for Denver Borough to meet with East Cocalico Supervisors at their Oct. 17 workshop meeting was held at Reamstown Fire Hall to accommodate the crowd of approximately 70 residents eager to see closure brought to the Denver police coverage issue for 2014.
Some tense moments occurred when each municipality went into separate rooms for executive session to discuss alleged discrepancies in what was previously agreed upon for 2014.
Agreement occurred after Denver councilman Mike Gensemer and Borough manager Mike Hession spoke with East Cocalico officials during their executive session.
Both municipalities returned to the table and unanimously approved the amendment to the agreement for police protection for 2014 for Denver Borough.
Items addressed in the amendment include no penalties if Denver decides to withdraw from East Cocalico Police. This includes no responsibility for any previously incurred pension liabilities. East Cocalico will pay the total pension amount in 2014. Denver is guaranteed a firm cost of $462,800 (round numbers) for police in 2014, which is 10 percent lower than what was paid in 2013.
East Cocalico Police agreed to a 1.5 percent pay raise in 2015, significantly lower than the 2.75 percent raise awarded to them by the police contract arbitrator.
Denver Borough’s representatives to the Police Board, which will begin the formidable task of forming a regional Cocalico force, are Denver Council President Walt Fink and Gensemer.
The Police Board has no meeting date set. At the last meeting, West Cocalico Township officials suggested to East Cocalico Supervisor Noelle Fortna to wait and see what happens with individual municipality votes prior to setting any other dates. At that point, with West Cocalico’s entire board, township manager and solicitor showing up for the police board meeting, many in the audience feared that perhaps West Cocalico Township was not going to cooperate with a new police board.
Since that time the grass roots group, Citizens for Cocalico Police (C4CP) using petitions, 1,500 signs and personal meetings and interviews, worked tirelessly toward their goal of all four municipalities staying together with East Cocalico Police coverage so that the school district would not be split apart.
The only question for the four current municipalities covered by East Cocalico Police is Adamstown, who voted Oct. 1 to not continue with East Cocalico Police. While Adamstown voted to go with Northern Regional, the vote depended on West Cocalico Township and Denver, neither of whom voted to join the Northern Regional Police Force, based in Clay Township.
East Cocalico Supervisors extended the deadline for Adamstown to decide to continue with East Cocalico Police and work toward regionalization until Nov. 6. Adamstown meets Nov. 5.
In other business, Hession announced the Weaver Road Bridge, closed for repairs, re-opened Oct. 16.