West Cocalico to pay Ephrata to prepare police proposal

By on July 15, 2015

Following months of seeming indecisiveness and controversy regarding future township police coverage, the West Cocalico supervisors took one clear step forward at their July 14 meeting.

In a unanimous vote — but not one made without serious discussion — the supervisors agreed to pay Ephrata Borough $8,000 to put together cost figures and develop a 2016 police coverage contract.

The West Cocalico move does not guarantee that the board will accept a contract from Ephrata Borough for coverage beginning Jan. 1. But it does mean that Ephrata Borough is a serious contender for the contract.

Supervisor James J. Stoner, who has led the board in police matters, urged his colleagues to accept the Ephrata Borough proposal offer.

“If we go with them, the $8,000 would be put back under (credited to) the service contract,” he said. “My opinion is to spend the money and get the proposal; their reasoning is that they are using their taxpayers’ money to come up with this. I felt it was a legitimate way of doing this.”

Supervisor Terry Scheetz agreed.

“It’s something we ran into in the past and I think it’s a legitimate expense,” he said.

Chair Jacque Smith was a bit skeptical.

“How many numbers are we going to need?” he asked.

He ultimately voted with Scheetz and Stoner to OK the $8,000 expenditure, money that will not be refunded should West Cocalico contract with some other entity for police coverage in 2016.

Stoner acknowledged conversations continue with other area police departments. Previously, West Cocalico officials noted discussions planned or held with Spring Township (Berks County) and Northern Lancaster County Regional Police.

West Cocalico supervisors appeared to close the door on East Cocalico in the past month as the township and Adamstown borough dropped out of protracted and problematic regional police talks. However, the East Cocalico supervisor chair and the Denver mayor, representatives of the remaining participants in what had been that regional police board, sent letters dated June 30 to both Adamstown and West Cocalico providing figures for police coverage.

The cost of East Cocalico coverage for West in 2016 would be $803,333.89.

“While this price is not directly solicited by WCT, you may consider it an offer from ECT and Denver to permit further coverage of WCT by the East Cocalico Police Department,” the letter states.

Adamstown was quoted a fee of $232,594.16 in a similar letter issued June 30. Ephrata Borough quoted a police coverage proposal fee of $1,500 to Adamstown for 2016.

Carolyn Hildebrand, West Cocalico Township manager, said Northern Lancaster is still in negotiations with its officers. She said the department indicated it would be in touch by the second week of August regarding coverage costs.

In other business, the supervisors:

* Voted to charge a fee of $220 to remove and store items (for a 15-day period) from public rights-of-way. At issue is the continuing presence of free-standing basketball hoops on at least two township streets. Hildebrand has issued letters to the property owners in question, but the hoops remain on the streets.

The resolution, passed unanimously, is an effort to bring the matters to a close and preclude future incidents. Hildebrand will post the law on the township Web site and send follow-up letters to the violators to provide them the opportunity to remove the hoops from the public street.

* Approved the use of Schoeneck Fire Police for the Reinholds Fire Company 100th Anniversary Parade on Aug. 1.

* Approved use of township roads for a prayer walk by Swamp Christian Fellowship on Aug. 6 at 6:30 p.m.

* Tabled action till the Aug. 6 meeting to approve a helicopter landing at Schoeneck Park on Sept. 19 for the Plain Compassion Crisis Response Inc. picnic. The supervisors had concerns about liability issues. Hildebrand will work with the organization to get the supervisors’ questions answered.

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One Comment

  1. J. Ames

    July 24, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Remember when Northern Regional acted like a child and sent a bill to us without negotiating it first? Why on earth would we consider getting into a contract with them again??? Did the supervisors completely forget??? I’m sure we could expect more fast talking and shady bills from regional in the future… Oh here’s the link to the bill article in case you need a good laugh again! Tell regional thanks but no thanks for their offer.

    http://lancasteronline.com/cocalico/news/west-cocalico-won-t-pay-for-police-merger-proposal-it/article_7323a4f6-1897-5489-8158-d56eb1d11caf.html

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