E. Fallowfield residents challenge police budget

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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