Township Meeting Room
WEST COCALICO TOWNSHIP
The Chairman, Jacque Smith called the meeting to order with the Pledge of Allegiance at 7:00 p.m.
The following were in attendance:
Supervisors: Jacque Smith, Terry Scheetz and James Stoner.
Others Present: Carolyn Friesema, Manager; Shelbie Shupp, Administrative Assistant; Val Lacis, Reading Eagle; Terry Bergman, Bryan & April Westhafer, ECT Police Chief George Beever, Retired ECT Police Ray Burns & resident, Retired Twp. Mgr, Norma Enck & resdient; Scott Moyer, Steve Laudenslager; Arlene Crouse, Sue Knauer, ECT Police Roger Kreiser, Jr. & resident; Dwayne Shank, L. Lamar Eberly, Daniel Stoner, Pastor Dennis Trout, Christopher Dunn, District Justice Nancy Hamill, Roger Zimmerman, Ronald Artz, Frank Weitoish, Jr., and Tina Weitoish.
James Stoner motioned to approve the Board of Supervisors minutes from July 12, 2013, as presented. Terry Scheetz seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Terry Scheetz motioned to approve the attached list of checks totaling $361,3401. James Stoner seconded the motion. Motion carried.
Jacque Smith opened the meeting to public discussion regarding the police contract with East Cocalico Township. He informed the audience that there will a public meeting on August 5, 2013, at 7:00 p.m. at the Stevens Fire Co. for the purpose of Adamstowns Borough, Denver Borough, East Cocalico Twp., and West Cocalico Twp. to discuss questions regarding the police contract.
District Justice Nancy Hamill said she spoke to Ed Tobin of Lititz regarding his thoughts on Northern Lancaster County Regional Police. He said that it is a new department and is reactive, not pro-active. Monthly report showed Warwick Twp. received $10,000 less in revenue for fines in 2012. She said it is only fair for East Cocalico to account for pension funds and find out what the fund manager would have to say about pension funds. They should be able to explain what is happening with the money.
Tina Weitoish, Parkview Drive; said she operates a day care center at her home and has concerns about how quickly she would get police assistance if something were to happen with one of the children under her care.
Norma Enck, Creek Rd.; thanked the Supervisors for meeting with other municipalities regarding the police contract and stated that the ball is in East Cocalico Twp.’s pocket. She asked the Supervisors to look at all aspects of finances. In the Northern Lancaster County Regional Police proposal, the township is allotted a certain amount of PPU’s. If we would run out of PPU’s, would there be additional costs for service. The Supervisors should get a breakdown of fines collected by East Cocalico Twp.
Ron Artz, Blue Lake Rd.; he commended the Board for their efforts in reigning in costs and recommended the Northern Lancaster Regional Police proposal as the best choice for the future. He felt the NLCRP proposal gave WCT some control and an equal say. Ron said it would be irresponsible to enter into another contract with ECT when we have no say and the unfunded police pension nightmare.
Arlene Crouse, Galen Hall Rd.; she wants the best which is East Cocalico Township police. East Cocalico rescinded the contract municipalities could not sign and are now willing to discuss the contract.
Roger Zimmerman, Blue Lake Rd.; thanked the Board of Supervsors for what they are doing in raising the issue of the police contract and taking the heat for it. He said that through his business in Clay Township, he has worked with the Northern Lancaster Regional Police and has been very pleased with their service. It is important to look at accountability, structure and cost.
Roger Kreiser, Village Spring Lane; he said the municipal taxes would only be a $30.00 difference, so we should go with East Cocalico Twp. police.
Rev. Dennis Trout, Blue Lake Rd.; he said current police are hands on and a good liaison with the public. He said that is a very important aspect to win people over and for a more secure environment.
Jacque Smith said he and his fellow Supervisors have not discussed the police contract issues together as a Board, tonight will be the first night they do that. He said there are certain services the township must pay for and police is one of them. They will have to determine how much they are willing to pay for police services and make a decision using their good judgment based on the information they have. He is hoping for a reasonable discussion at the August 5th meeting and hopes it is productive. The Board has tried to get answers from East Cocalico Twp. regarding the police contract and it behooves East to respond to the other three municipalities questions and concerns. After the discussion on August 5th, the Board will have to evaluate the information from East Cocalico Twp., as well as Northern Lancaster County Regional Police and then come to a decision.
James Stoner stated that we were put into this position and had to consider looking into other police services. The decision has to be one that represents all the residents. The Board will have to look at everything in order to make a decision.
Ron Artz is concerned about the township getting trapped like with the Four Seasons property. Spending hundreds and hundreds of dollars and being a step child in a contract, not having a say. He feels it is important that the township have a management share, rather than be dictated to.
Jacque Smith stated he will not go into another contract, we need to have a say.
April Westhafer said it would cost more money to go with Northern Lancaster County Regional, as well. We would have to buy more shares. Currently NLCRP are receiving grant money, in the future they probably won’t have all the funds and the partners will have to pay more. They also have a contingency clause for a municipality dropping out, we would have to pay and not have coverage.
James Stoner stated East Cocalico Twp. has rescinded the contract for 2014 and said it was a mistake.
They have not given financial numbers that have been requested. He said he is going to the meeting on August 5th in good faith with an open mind.
Terry Scheetz said that we have to remember that West Cocalico Twp. was having a rocky road with their own police force and begged ECT to get us out of our mess at that time. He said Craig Ebersole was East Cocalico’s police chief at the time and was instrumental in paving the way for West Cocalico, Adamstown and Denver to be served by the ECT police. He said West Cocalico asked what the cost would be and said here’s the check, we don’t want any of the headaches.
The requests for checks have become a bit out of hand, but still no headaches. The police service has evolved over time and we enjoy excellent police coverage, we have been spoiled rotten. Now we have to decide if we can live with the cost. We would appreciate a solution to unfunded obligations and would have to decide what we would be willing to pay for inventory and upfront costs to establish a regional police force. The Board will have to vote yes or no, what is the best for the community.
Jacque Smith said his concern is the entanglement with East Cocalico Township. Whenever we asked for information regarding the Community Center property, we were stonewalled.
Ray Burns, Rose Dr. stated that it is a disservice to mention the 1975 Route 272 property when discussing police services. They have nothing to do with each other, just the same parties. Jacque Smith said he took issue with Ray Burn’s comment. He said we have a history of having trouble getting information from East Cocalico Twp. and this has created an element of distrust.
Craig Ebersole said he had visited Northern York Regional in 1976. He asked how many votes each municipality would have if they were to go with NLRP and suggested that the municipalities create a Cocalico Regional Police force. Carolyn said each municipality would have 2 votes regardless of the population.
Kurt Eckenroad, Mechanic St.; stated that a Cocalico Regional Police force would be great.
Steve Laudenslager, Garvin Rd.; asked if the timetable was the same as 3 weeks ago. Carolyn shared that the current contract expires December 31 and East Cocalico Township said they need to know by October 1. The Board will need to make a decision around the middle of September. Steve said everything in the NLRP proposal is based on PPU’s. He wanted to know if 15% overhead/admin. Fee takes away from PPU’s or are they adding 15% onto the PPU’s. He feels the numbers are presumptuous to show a savings.
Sue Knauer, West Route 897; asked if the Board considered using residents with police knowledge to get help with the contract? Could a committee be formed? James Stoner said he has been willing to meet with various people including Chief George Beever. He asked for a description of the services we are currently getting. He said he was given a defined scope of work. It was not exactly what he wanted but he appreciated the effort. He said he is a business person and looks at the police contract through those eyes.
Chief George Beever said when you look at the NLRP and the ECT police you cannot compare apples to apples. They both provide police services but are run differently.
Tina Weitoish asked if changing police will affect the school. James Stoner said we are spoiled and we receive excellent service. The current police service is one that we grew into. He doesn’t know how it will affect the school but said it could possibly.
Jacque Smith said he doesn’t know how what the other municipalities will choose but he is concerned about West Cocalico. He said he is approaching the August 5th
meeting with an open mind, everything will have to be on the table. He is angry because they should have never been put in this position.
Sue Knauer said if the entire Cocalico School District does not have the same police force, it will make her job harder when she needs to get ahold of the police for a school bus incident.
Lamar Eberly, Swamp Bridge Rd.; thanked the Board of Supervisors for the time they are putting into this. He wondered if he calls for police, where would they be coming from and what would the response time be. Carolyn said there would be one in Adamstown, Denver or West Cocalico at all times under the scenario that all three municipalities go with NLRP.
Ray Burns said that we could run out of PPU’s but at ECT we have an infinite service. There is paperwork and travel time that goes to PPU’s. He feels we should check with other regional police forces to see what happens when a municipality runs out of PPU’s. We should have PPU’s defined. Chief Beever clarified that Regional Police do not have to use PPU’s.
Ron Artz asked what kind of coverage does the current contract offer? The Supervisors said they are unsure and have asked for this information.
Steve Laudenslager suggested that Lititz Borough and other municipalities that were approached when Northern Regional was being formed, be contacted to see why they did not join.
Frank Weitoish, Parkview Dr.; asked why a Cocalico area regional police force was never formed. Craig Ebersole shared the history of how the East Cocalico Police expanded: coverage for Adamstown was started in 1978, West Cocalico in 1986 and Denver in 1995. He said there was never time to look at setting up a regional police force. He said that he realizes monies are getting tight for municipalities and that Denver and Adamstowns are built out. We have to look at cost. He asked the Board of Supervisors to go to the August 5th meeting with a blank piece of paper and hammer out issues.
The Board of Supervisors compiled a list of items for consideration at the August 5th meeting:
Are we willing to contribute to unfunded liabilities even though we paid what we were billed. We paid for the service we received. The pension needs to be addressed.
What is our responsibility, 25%, $700,000 to $800,000. In addition to paying for police coverage.
Jacque Smith said he will not get into another contract.
Discuss whether East Cocalico would be willing to be part of a regional police force. What would be our costs for the building and to buy out East Cocalico’s inventory? How long would we have to pay these costs? We would want a fixed schedule of meetings, couldn’t drag out meetings. What representation would we have? We would want an independent agency such as DCED or a consultant to help with setting up a regional police force. There is grant money available. It would take 6 months to do study. What would we do in the interim?
What coverage do we have now?
Boroughs are maxed out and cannot afford additional cost.
If we choose not to go with Northern Regional, will they accept us at a later date; or would we go with State Police.
Chief Beever gave the Police report as follows:
Theft – Cash and property valued at $250 was reported stolen from a vehicle parked in the 1200 block of Girl Scout Rd. during the night of July 13-14.
Theft – A cell phone valued at $280 was reported to have been stolen from a barn in the 800 block of Greenville Rd. sometime between 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm on July 26.
Vandalism – Officers responded to a residence in the first block of Mechanic Street at 1:30 pm on July 15 when the resident returned home to find the back door window broken. No one was in the residence at the time.
Shots fired – Officers responded to a “shots fired” call in the 100 block of West Main Street, Reinholds, at 10:55 pm on July 16. It was reported that what sounded like someone firing a small caliber gun behind the firehouse. Nothing was found.
Disturbance – Officers responded to a disturbance at a residence in the 800 block of Greenville Road at 1:05 am on July 27. One person was charged with Public Drunkenness as a result.
Robbery – At 5:30 am this morning, a resident of the 500 block of Sandy Hill Rd. reported that he had been robbed at gunpoint by three individuals who then fled west bound on the turnpike.
Carolyn Friesema gave the Manager’s report as follows:
1.Investigated the following complaints/concerns:
a.Long grass at various locations
b. Poor visibility at several locations
d.Car parking complaint
2.Attended the following meetings:
a.School District meeting – Monday, July 22,
2013 – 7:00 p.m.
b. Cocalico Regional Leaders meeting – Tuesday,
July 23, 2013 – 7:00 p.m.
c. Park Board – Wednesday, July 24, 2013 – 7:00
3. Met with Jim Caldwell, Rettew; Alan Love, SDS;and David Becker, Stone Hill to discuss the review notes on the Jill A Sensenig plan.
4.Met with the representatives from the Board of Northern Lancaster County Regional Police to discuss the police proposal from Northern Lancaster County Regional Police on Thursday, August 1, 2013 at 7:00 a.m.
There was a brief discussion regarding the repairs that need to be made to the Sportsman Road Bridge. Carolyn said that it will probably cost $200,000 to $300,000 to repair. She said that until it is fixed PennDot will probably limit the bridge to one lane or set a weight limit for it. James Stoner suggested the bridge repair be added to the 2014 budget.
James Stoner motioned to approve the use of the Schoeneck Fire Police on September 25, 2013 to assist with Ephrata Fair Parade traffic control. Terry Scheetz seconded the motion.
On a motion by James Stoner and seconded by Terry Scheetz, the meeting was adjourned at 8:50 pm.
James Stoner Secretary