East Cocalico supervisors cut library contribution

By on April 25, 2018

The Adamstown Area Library Director was notified on Thursday, April 19, that the library’s usual annual donation from East Cocalico Township would be reduced by $5,000, down to $25,000. Supervisors dispersed their annual contributions that evening.

The library serves five municipalities — Adamstown and Denver boroughs, East Cocalico, West Cocalico, and Brecknock townships, with East Cocalico residents having the largest percentage of library users.

Supervisors distributed envelopes containing checks to the three fire companies, ambulance and library without commenting on check amounts.

After a resident asked, township manager, Scott Russell said that $25,000 was given to each of the three township fire companies (for a total of $75,000 for community fire service), and $25,000 each to the ambulance and library. The only change in allocations was the reduction in the library’s amount.

How did this happen since it was never discussed publicly at a meeting?

“I polled the supervisors with an email question,” said Russell. They all agreed to make each donation equal.”

Russell said finances are tight and he understands the ambulance, which is under Reamstown Fire Company, is especially in need of revenue. The township currently is reviewing proposals for a new pension fund provider due to concerns about the fund’s growth rate over time. No one specific financial concern was given as the reason for the $5,000 reduction.

The 2018 budget allocates an additional $96,000 to the ambulance. Russell said last month no decision was made regarding additional monies going to the ambulance. It covers most of East Cocalico; the Reinholds ambulance covers some of it. It also covers most of Denver; Reinholds ambulance covers everything north of the Turnpike.

On December 21, 2017, supervisors Doug Mackley and Alan Fry voted “yes” to adopt the 2018 budget, and supervisor Noelle Fortna voted “no.” She said she didn’t favor the tax increase and felt that there were places in the budget where money could be saved. The adopted budget allocates $30,000 to the library.

Former supervisor, Fortna, serves on the Library Board and attended the meeting. She thanked supervisors for their contribution to the library. She said she believed supervisors could find somewhere in the budget to come up with the $5,000 they deducted.

New supervisor Romao Carrasco challenged Fortna to show him from where the money would come. The only municipal officer to use his personal laptop at meetings, he didn’t access or speak to the adopted budget allocation for the library. Carrasco had no part in creating or adopting the budget less than four months ago.

Fortna said again, when Carrasco rephrased the same question, that without the budget in front of her, she could not suggest from where to draw the $5,000.

When resident Ken McCrea questioned the construction of a new salt shed, part of the draft budget for over $200,000, Russell said that money went into the reserve fund.

Reamstown Fire Chief, Scott Achey, spoke about the vital service volunteer fire companies provide and volunteer’s many hours of training and service. He hoped that they, and the ambulance, which due to a volunteer shortage had to go to the expense of paid staff, would receive further township consideration for revenue.

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