Future of CRPD in Bath
A MESSAGE FROM BATH COUNCIL PRESIDENT
Borough officials are considering a shift in police service coverage. This issue has been of discussion since mid-2016. While the Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD) has served Bath’s community with honor, dignity, and loyalty for more than 20 years, the time has come to reassess our business relationship and the financial outlook of police services.
The Borough of Bath and the business relationship between CRPD administrators and municipal members is miss-aligned. Lower Nazareth Township and Hanover Township have expressly unique demographics, visioning, and purchasing power of police services that Bath struggles to compete with. Borough officials understand a new role our municipality can participate by contracting for police services—providing police protection at an affordable and sustainable pace. Council is struggling with an evident tax increase for 2018. Council has reduced or cut most line item spending in the annual budget except police services. In order to stabilize the property tax rate for years to come, the only next logical step is to address police services.
Bath dissolved its original police department in 1995 because the costs to maintain a municipal force were exceeding revenues the Borough collected. It was economically unsustainable. Regionalization of the police department was an efficient and cost effective way to provide police service to Bath residents. Now, more than 20 years later, the financial strains of a growing police department are once again front and center.
As police service costs grow, those expenses encroach upon and severely limit spending in necessary capital infrastructure. The Borough is re-structuring and moving into a much smaller and more efficient municipal building that will reduce cost over time. The Borough must focus on fixing a dilapidated municipal street inventory, which was estimated at $5.5 million in 2012. Finally, the Borough is subject to unfunded mandates by the state and federal governments to improve storm water protection systems. All of these capital projects come with incredible financial burden requiring innovative and forward thinking on how to re-allocate tax revenues and annual income.
The Borough administration wants you to know that this issue is being examined from all possible angles. As Council President, I have formed a Citizens Police Advisory Panel, which is tasked with fact-finding and evaluating police service options. This panel consists of Borough residents from Old Forge Estates to Holiday Hill. This panel, or focus group, will offer a recommendation to Borough Council from the information and interviews held with area police departments. In addition, I have invited members of the community to attend Council meetings to discuss this matter during the meeting’s public session forum. Council plans on establishing Town Hall meetings in the near future as well. It is the goal of Borough Council to have a decision whether to remain with CRPD or withdrawal membership by December 15, 2017.
While this is a significant social policy adjustment, please know Bath officials are committed to providing Borough families with police protection and services. Borough Council will be evaluating expenses, revenues, crime trends, social impact, and the human capital behind making an extremely difficult decision such as staying with or leaving CRPD. Council is fully aware that maintaining CRPD going forward is likely to require a year-over-year tax increase for police services on our struggling families. The Borough’s administration is steadfast to preventing or minimizing future property tax liabilities.
We encourage your participation in this important discussion.
Mark A. Saginario, Bath Council President
TOWN HALL MEETING OF SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2017 9:00 AM
The following information packet was distributed among members of the public in attendance at the Town Hall Meeting. CRPD officers, the media, and general public were in attendance. Certain data points and representations were challenged at the meeting. CRPD was requested to submit, in writing, corrections to the information, which we will post on this webpage. Furthermore, if the Borough finds any corrections or clarification to the informational packet, this will also be submitted on this webpage.
At the June 6, 2017 Regular Session of Council, officer’s of CRPD were in attendance. The officer’s presented the packet below for Council’s review. The information was also passed out to the public in attendance.
The information so forth by the association on this webpage was presented to Borough Council as the viewpoint of the Colonial Regional Police Association, and it does not necessarily reflect the views of Borough representatives.
BOROUGH COUNCIL MAKES CRPD DECISION AT JULY 12, 2017 REGULAR SESSION
As everyone is aware, there are ever-increasing costs of property, County and school taxes on our Borough residents, coupled with regional police department future increases, Borough Council, at the July regular session on Wednesday, July 12th, voted unanimously to withdraw from the Colonial Regional Police Commission/Department.
In order to meet fiscal responsibilities, we have evaluated the amounts feasible for the Borough to move forward—most importantly, concerning infrastructure and roadways. The Borough of Bath fully supports everything that police officers do on a daily basis. It was decided that necessary police services can be provided by another police agency at reduced cost. Colonial Regional Police Department is top-notch, which was never in question. We cannot continue to raise taxes and placing the burden on our residents and businesses. It saddens the Borough that this decision had to be made solely on economics. The decision to contract with another police agency, or go to State Police coverage will be made in the coming months.
We extend our sincerest gratitude to the men of CRPD, and wish them continued success.
Please note that any change in police services will not become effective until January 1, 2019 as we continue to judiciously plan the betterment of the Borough future.
COUNCIL DECIDES STATE POLICE TO SERVE THE BOROUGH–but when?
At their September 5th Regular Session, Borough Council has voted unanimously to have the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) provide law enforcement duties to the Borough of Bath. What does this mean?
Under the Colonial Regional Police Commission (CRPC) Articles of Agreement, a member municipality that withdraws from the organization must give the commission at least one-year advanced notice by or on December 15th of the preceding year. The borough provided such notice in July. If no other arrangements are made, the Colonial Regional Police Department (CRPD) is the borough’s law enforcement service agency up until December 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM. PSP would then assume law enforcement duties on January 1, 2019 at midnight.
Borough officials have offered the CRPC a buy-out option. This option would allow the borough to pay CRPD a set price for 2018, however service would be discontinued as of December 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM. This options saves money for the borough and CRPD. The details of the buy-out option are confidential and still under negotiations. If this buy-out option is accepted by CRPC then, as part of the agreement, the Colonial Regional Police would discontinue service as of December 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM. PSP would assume law enforcement duties on January 1, 2018 at midnight.
Again, to summarize: Borough Council has elected to withdraw from CRPC. Under the Articles of Agreement, the Colonial Regional Police will serve the borough through 2018, officially ending on December 31, 2018 at 11:59 PM. Borough Council has voted to allow the Pennsylvania State Police provide law enforcement duties to the borough. On January 1, 2019 at midnight, PSP assumes law enforcement jurisdiction. The borough has offered a buy-out option to CRPC. If the terms and conditions of that buy-out option are accepted within the next few months, the switch from Colonial Regional Police to State Police will occur much faster. Under an accepted buy-out option, CRPD would discontinue service on December 31, 2017 at 11:59 PM and PSP would assume law enforcement duties on January 1, 2018.
Please keep in mind, it is possible that the buy-out option agreement could be reached between the borough and CRPC sometime in 2018 that could prompt a switch from CRPD to PSP mid-year. The borough is hopeful however, that a smooth transition will take place prior to the close of 2017.
Keep checking back to this website and the borough’s FaceBook page for the latest changes and developments. Should you have any questions at all about this process, please contact our office during normal business hours (610) 837-6525. Members of Council and Mayor Mirabito are also available to answer any questions you may have.
(Last Revised 04.11.2017)
(Last updated 09.11.2017)