E. Fallowfield residents challenge police budget

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Residents say department’s budget is too high

By Jamie Richard, Staff Writer, The Times

EAST FALLOWFIELD – Residents expressed their concerns over police spending in the township’s board of supervisors discussed the proposed 2013 budget.

A workshop for the budget was held last week, prior to the supervisors’ regular meeting in which the board looked for ways to reduce an anticipated deficit of roughly $66,000. Several residents suggested making cuts to the police department, arguing that its budget was too high.

“In a community the size of this one in a suburban area, 50% of the budget going to the police force…is unconscionable or at least questionable at best,” said resident Wesley Maughan.

The police department’s budget is an estimated $1 million, while the overall the preliminary budget for the township is projected at approximately $2.4 million.

Board supervisor Ed Porter informed residents that the board is limited in making reductions to the police department because of its contract. According to Porter, the Pennsylvania Second Class Township Code requires a township to have a contract with its police department if the department possesses more than two full-time officers.

“There’s not much we can do in certain areas because of the contract,” said Porter. “You cannot reduce this police department unless there’s just cause on an officer.”

Porter added that the only other option for the board would be to dissolve the department and start over, an idea that some residents found acceptable.

“I think dissolving it is exactly right,” said Maughan. “Let’s start over.”

The board, however, was quick to point out that it had no plans of pursuing that option.

“There will always be police service in this township, “ said Porter. “That’s not something you would want to do without thought or something you would ever want to do.”

The board plans on renegotiating terms with the police department once the current contract expires.

The board of supervisors will have their next meeting on Dec. 18.

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Tags: 2013 budget, East Fallowfield, Ed Porter, police, Township Supervisors
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2 Responses

  1. It is good to see this reporter show back up to the meetings. He suddenly disappeared from East Fallowfield Township meetings for most of this year. There was an East Fallowfield supervisor running for State Senator this year and this reporter and the County Local reporter all of the sudden stopped attending meetings.

    Some areas of his reporting in this article need to corrected. The budget before the Board at the beginning of the talk that night was not $66,000 deficit. It was roughly a $200,000 to $300,000 deficit at the beginning. It went down to a $66,000, possibly no deficit, by then end of that budget meeting because of errors being discovered, reductions in spending, decisions about a Township manager, and also the decline of certain increases asked for by the departments in the 2013 budget. This can all change because the budget has not been approved.

    Regarding reporting presented in this article, I went through the budget accordingly. At this time I am not for hiring a new full time officer given the budget crunch. In my opinion, to give the increases requested at this time would more than likely lead to taxing the residents. There are some areas in the department that need solutions, since two full time officers are not able to work at this time. I understand the strain on the police department at this time but a solution needs to be worked on by the Board.

    I did talk about many areas of the budget and not just the police department so it is a shame to see the angle that this news reporter is presenting. For example, the Township could have more options for potentially saving money if the East Fallowfield Board would agree to make a change in the Township medical insurance plan and switch to a co-op plan that hundreds of other municipalities have joined.

    Ed Porter

    • In defense of Jamie Richard, we’ve been short-handed (and continue to be so)…the nature of being a small, locally-owned startup. If, in any way, we got it wrong, we always want to correct any errors. So if something was wrong — or you think we’ve messed up, always feel free to contact me directly at mike@chescotimes.com. I’m happy to speak to you about this specific matter, of course.

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