Adamstown officials balk at paying legal fees

By on January 1, 2014

Officials in Adamstown do not want to pay some legal fees stemming from a recent effort to explore the possibility of switching police coverage.

The borough council voted 5 to 2 at their December meeting to reject a request from the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police Department that the town pay $4,900 in legal fees that were accrued during a failed attempt to contract services from the force earlier this year.

Members of the borough council voted in October to end the town’s long-standing agreement to contract services from neighboring East Cocalico Township after expressing concerns over rising pension and building costs, and instead join the Northern Lancaster Regional Police Department, which also provides police protection to Warwick, Penn and Clay townships. Nearby West Cocalico Township and Denver also expressed interest in terminating their contracts with East Cocalico and joining Northern Lancaster Regional Police Department.

Although officials in each of the municipalities claimed that joining Northern Lancaster Regional Police Department would lead to lower costs and give members an equal say in the management of the force, Adamstown’s decision sparked widespread opposition from local residents, who cited concerns about the quality of coverage and response times. West Cocalico Township and Denver subsequently abandoned their efforts to change departments and Adamstown officials reversed their decision to leave East Cocalico in November.

Councilman Benjamin Zentner noted that West Cocalico Township and Denver also opposed repaying Northern Lancaster County Police Department’s legal fees.

Dissenting votes were cast by council members Cindy Schweitzer and Ed Zander. “We went down a path and we owe them,” Schweitzer said prior to voting.

Schweitzer, who was one of the main proponents of the effort to drop East Cocalico Police Department, also did not rule out reopening negotiations with Northern Lancaster Regional Police Department in the future.

“Anything is possible,” she said.

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