East Cocalico furloughs three officers

By on October 21, 2015

Three police officers, one of whom will have been with the East Cocalico force for just nine months, received furlough notices effective Dec. 31.

“This is due to the fact that West Cocalico Township and Adamstown are terminating contracting police service from us at the end of the year,” said Supervisor Doug Mackley.

The newest East Cocalico officer, Anthony Luongo, as well as Officers John Appleton and Jonathan Zaun, who each have five years and seven months service by the end of the year, have the opportunity to apply for positions in the Ephrata Borough Police Department. Ephrata is adding officers to cover West Cocalico and Adamstown municipalities, which each signed five-year contracts for police service with Ephrata.

An almost quarter hour of public comment dealt with how the township will deal with police costs and not raise taxes since Adamstown and West Cocalico won’t receive police services.

Supervisor Noelle Fortna explained some of the many factors which will result in savings for the police department, such as fewer miles of roads to cover, less fuel costs, less wear and tear on vehicles, and fewer officers.

“Do you see a tax increase for next year?” asked resident Jeff Mitchell.

“Income projections for next year are up,” said Vice President Alan Fry. “Personally, I don’t see a tax increase for next year, at this time.”

Mitchell questioned the wisdom in East Cocalico “subsidizing” police costs for the other municipalities, such as helping to pay the other municipality’s fair share of police pension costs.

Supervisors agreed that if the regionalization efforts had moved forward, the result would have been cost effective.

“We couldn’t have done more,” said Fry. “They (Adamstown and West) wanted a say in running the police department and then complained about the pension and health insurance, things which they could have changed and had a say in if they had stayed with the police board. Then they pulled out.”

Representatives from the Smokestown and Reamstown volunteer fire companies provided updates to the supervisors.

“The proposed merger work of Reamstown, Smokestown and Stevens continues,” said Reamstown Chief Scott Achey. “On Oct. 29, a meeting with all three fire companies to present to everyone what’s been worked on to date will be held.”

He added that on Nov. 5 at 7:30 p.m. a vote is scheduled to occur in all three fire stations to decide with the merger proceeds or not.

“At this time I can’t say for sure whether it will or will not go through,” said Achey, responding to a question.

In other business, supervisors:

* Heard Zoning Officer Tony Luongo’s September report highlights of three permits issued for single family dwellings out of the 32 total permits issued, an increase of 10 false alarms for the month, and an inquiry as to the pace of commercial development in the township from Benderson Corp., the Florida-based corporation owning the land on which Cocalico Commons Shopping Center was to be built a few years ago. Due to the sluggish economy it was not started. The land is located adjacent to Colonel Howard Boulevard and Route 272.

* Agreed to advertise for sale by sealed bid the approximately seven acres of land adjacent to Den-Tech on Route 272. Bids will be opened Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. when the board of supervisors will vote whether to accept the highest bid received. They reserve the right to reject any or all bids.

Photo by Alice Hummer This seven-acre tract of land in East Cocalico Township, located adjacent to DenTech Inc. on Route 272, about one mile from the turnpike entrance, is being sold by sealed bids, which must be submitted to East Cocalico Township by 4 p.m. on Nov. 18.  The bid opening is Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The land was originally purchased jointly by Adamstown and Denver boroughs and East Cocalico and West Cocalico townships for a recreation center.  The purchase at the height of the real estate market, prior to the stock market crash in 2008,  ultimately made the recreation idea unfeasible financially. This land was part of the larger parcel which DenTech purchased more than a year ago. DenTech didn't need this section of the property and donated it back to East Cocalico, which will split proportionately the sale proceeds among the four Cocalico municipalities.

Photo by Alice Hummer
This seven-acre tract of land in East Cocalico Township, located adjacent to DenTech Inc. on Route 272, about one mile from the turnpike entrance, is being sold by sealed bids, which must be submitted to East Cocalico Township by 4 p.m. on Nov. 18. The bid opening is Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. The land was originally purchased jointly by Adamstown and Denver boroughs and East Cocalico and West Cocalico townships for a recreation center. The purchase at the height of the real estate market, prior to the stock market crash in 2008, ultimately made the recreation idea unfeasible financially. This land was part of the larger parcel which DenTech purchased more than a year ago. DenTech didn’t need this section of the property and donated it back to East Cocalico, which will split proportionately the sale proceeds among the four Cocalico municipalities.

* Approved advertising the proposed 2016 meeting calendar. Supervisors are maintaining their first and third Thursday 7:30 p.m. monthly meeting schedule.

* Disbanded the police board since East Cocalico is the only municipality left.

* Approved sending a letter of support to Denver Borough for replacement of the Weaver Road Bridge, scheduled for replacement in a few years. There is no financial responsibility for East Cocalico for this project.

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