Clay approves regional police

By on September 28, 2011

By: JACQUELINE WATSON Review Correspondent, Staff Writer

It was with both cautiousness and hopefulness that the Clay Township board of supervisors adopted an ordinance authorizing them to enter into a charter with Penn Township and Warwick Township for the formation of the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department.

The board realizes that regionalization is not above future complications, but they are hopeful that this charter will be successful and continue to be run by team players.

"Residents are asking me, ‘well is this going to work, is that going to work?’ Well, we sure hope it does, but we can’t guarantee," chairman Timothy Lausch commented. "We’re going to try the best we can to make it work."

Lausch then pointed to a clear positive side of the agreement.

"I feel … we’re going to have more resources to pull from…more coverage," he said.

The ordinance was adopted at the board of supervisors meeting Sept. 12 after a hearing. This acceptance was preceded by a public meeting on Aug. 31, which included well over 30 residents and a two-hour question and answer period.

"It’s not so much that we’re choosing between regionalizing and staying the way we are, because as costs increase, we can’t stay the way we are," secretary Keith Martin noted. "So, we’re choosing between regionalizing or possibly making some painful decisions on our own next year."

The charter is for five years initially and will be automatically renewed each following year if no objections are raised. Included in the charter is the option for withdrawal with penalties and proper support. The proposed chief of police for the regionalized force is David Steffen, the current chief for Warwick Township. The NLCRPD will be overseen by a commission including two members from each of the currently participating townships. The board nominated Martin to the four-year term on the board and Lausch to the three-year term.

In other news:

Damage to township roads during recent flooding was discussed at the meeting. When asked about his report, Roadmaster Earl Stauffer responded with the words, "It’s not good." and proceeded to list the road conditions. At the time of the meeting, Stauffer had made much progress in reopening roads and hoped to have one of the few remaining closures opened by the next day. One of the issues holding up the process was the need to have possible structural damage assessed by a structural engineer.

Also relating to the recent flood, Lausch gave acknowledgment for the many services of volunteers during the emergency.

"I just want to extend a personal thank you for all the volunteers and everything you guys did for the community, the fire company and all the emergency responders," Lausch said.

In other news, solicitor Jennifer Meija reminded those present at the meeting of the purpose of the proposed alternative energy ordinance.

"The outline and the goal is to allow the use of these newer energy systems while maintaining practices that protect the public and open space and particularly agricultural uses," she said.

This alternative energy ordinance was recommended by both the Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Clay Township Planning Commission. The board adopted the alternative energy ordinance after holding a hearing for the public. More CLAY, page A15

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