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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Monday, May 01, 2017

Bath Borough To Consider Dropping Regional Police Coverage

While Hanover Township has honored first responders by naming a park after them, Bath Borough has scheduled a town hall to discuss the furture of its police services for Saturday, May 20th - 9:00AM at the Bath Social Hall on North Walnut Street. Like Hanover and Lower Nazareth Township, Bath is a partner in the Colonial Regional Police Department. Its 2017 budget calls for $413,546.39 for police protection. Its estimated population is about 2,600.

According to the state DCED,
Pennsylvania has more police departments than any other state in the country, and many are too small to provide a full range of police services. In fact, eighty-three percent of the municipal police departments have less than ten officers.

The concept of regional policing is gaining favor among municipal leaders who are faced with stagnant or declining sources of revenue. Currently, there are 35+ regional police departments representing 125+ municipalities. Most regional police departments were created to strengthen existing police services in the areas of administration, supervision, training, investigation, patrol and specialty services.
The DCED does have a grant program for shared resources.

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

More cost to the State Police

Anonymous said...

Yep. Let s stretch the State Police coverage even thinner because Township Managers don't want manage a budget. Regional Police Dept. are a great stop gap measure for townships and to pull out because you enjoy your position as supervisor and don't want to be the one who raises taxes is absurd. The cost of doing business steadily increases year to year and everyone has to adjust for it. Modest tax increases are a far better option than getting hit with a large one when the township has no other choice. Police and fire are insurance policies, it sucks to pay the bill but it is nice to have it when you need it.

Anonymous said...

The current leadership of Bath including the Mayor and Manager are out of control. They are trying to find a cheap alternative after years of mismanagement. Heard that they are looking at other surrounding municipalities and PSP as a cheap alternative. Less expensive certainly isn't better. Rumor around town is that Moore Township will take over. That will quickly backfire as they aren't half the force Colonial is.

Perhaps they'll just be another municipality that relies on PSP. Do they really think that will work? No regular patrols, minimum staffing, etc. If it isn't a major crime, they might not see a police officer for a month.

The Mayor spends more time venting on both her personal and boroughs Facebook page than a blogger. We are a small community but I don't need to be lectured by her every day about how difficult it is to lead. Lead, follow or get out of the way.

We need to stay with the Colonial Regional PD who are among the best in the valley.

Anonymous said...

That s the problem with these local leaders is they all campaign on "I am the one who can solve township and city fiscal issues". When they win and actually have to do it, the first thing they turn to is public safety. Public safety is the very basic function of govt, that is what they are supposed to provide yet it seems as though they cannot govern without slashing public safety budgets. No one likes taxes and unless the Mayors and township leaders can get creative, as they all promise while campaigning, tax increases are a must. Unfortunately far too often the leaders get elected and the limit of their creativeness is to cut public safety. Just look at what Allentown is going through with their corrupt Mayor and his war on public safety. He hasn't raised taxes since he has been in office and their fire equipment is falling a part. This is all too familiar of a story throughout the cities and townships of the valley. The problem lies with simple minded politicians not public safety. If the job is to hard resign.

Anonymous said...

Do they vote blue or red? I bet the trend is municipalities that vote blue pay for their own coverage and those that vote red rely on PSP. Maybe it is the rural nature of the area but nonethelessless free PSP is an entitlement benefit.

Why does DCED offer grants for regional police but not municipal departments? Generally speaking, the taxes are lower in the regional areas and the burden is higher in more urban areas.

Anonymous said...

The CRPD is a professional well trained police department, however, it is a mass of unrelenting costs that has marginalized Bath's membership in it. Regional police departments, like the CRPD, were formed to save on costs, combine synergies and provide reasonable police services to the municipalities. On point two and three, I do believe they meet the criteria, however, point one, the CRPD fails. This is mostly due to the deep pockets in Hanover and Lower Nazareth who made this venture very costly! The Chief of Police is the 4th highest paid chief in the Lehigh Valley at $100,829; Behind Dorney Allentown [123,000], DiLuzio Bethlehem [103,998], and Christman South Whitehall Township [103,020]. The maximum patrolman salary is approximately [75,000]. The maximum mean average salary for Boroughs with the same demographics as Bath is 57,127.20. This is approximately 17,872.80 per/officer more than the mean average. With a below the poverty line of 12.3% [2015] populace, a land locked borough and a borough that is built out to industrial capacity, the municipal leaders in Bath have little options in providing "cost effective" police services.

Anonymous said...

By the way Bernie, those two DCED grants for regional police departments are for startup regionals, not existing ones. Ask the commission members why they keep an approximate $190,000 in capital reserve when they can use part of this to keep personnel costs down, thus making the regional less costly for all members.

Anonymous said...

Once again questioning what the officers, who are sworn to protect the citizens, make. Would you have them be volunteers as well? I'm sure the lawyers who work for the cities and townships don't do it pro bono. I am also sure none of the professional services provided to the cities are pro bono. So why question police salaries? They provide a tangible service that is vital to the community. Im sure if you were a victim of a home invasion you wouldn't want to wait for State Police to respond.

Do your job that you were elected to do. Stop whining that it's too hard. You can also resign, that's easy. Police services are the last thing you should be cutting in this day and age. Do your job.

Anonymous said...

Seems like Bath leadership was up at 7:21 & 7:30. Keep defending your mismanagement.

Anonymous said...

When the cost of a police force is perceived to be greater than its value, it goes the way of the dinosaur.

Anonymous said...

This small community believes that the police are not your parents and they are not your bodyguards. For them, the cost of maintaining a police force can be better used for other municipal needs. This isn't a place such as Allentown where the criminal element has a major presence. It's a place like I used to live at in East Tennessee where occasionally a pizza is stolen from a delivery car.

What works for them may not work where you live, or maybe it's a signal to the FOP that what you provide simply costs more than what value you provide.

Anonymous said...

Go back to East Tennessee. Better check the crime stats in Bath. We need police.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" the cost of maintaining a police force can be better used for other municipal needs. "

There is nomore basic need than your public sfetyWe already have way too many municipalities herein Pa. Any one of these fragmented governments that is unwilling or unable to assume the most basic service there is should be dissolved.

Bernie O'Hare said...

" With a below the poverty line of 12.3% [2015] populace, a land locked borough and a borough that is built out to industrial capacity, the municipal leaders in Bath have little options in providing "cost effective" police services."

If you are unable to serve your community in this most basic manner, you are failing in your most basic function as government. Since our local governance is already too fragmented, I suggest you put aside your ego and dissolve. You can't handle it.

Anonymous said...

Again insurance costs and 90% of the time you don't need it but it is nice to have when you get into a car accident or your house burns down.

By the way Tennessee, the criminals in the Valley have cars and love unprotected areas. Also Allentown is a fine City and the Police do a superb job. Just because the Mayor is corrupt and there is some criminal element, doesn't mean it is a bad City.

To your point that police are not body guards or parents than don't bother the State Police either. Apparently bath has the secret to law enforcement.

Anonymous said...

9:69 Actually that is a good option. Just become unincorporated and turn over the municipal government functions to township or county government. Life will go on as before without another level of government to pay for.

Peter J.Cochran said...

Bernie, Is it not true that this redundancy of agencies is because we are a 'commonwealth' that propagated the issue as result. Every venue having their own police ,fire and ambulance,and 'Chief' etc. Isn't that why in NorCo boundaries we have all this fire equipment that normally would be unjustifiable. The issue is not exclusive to police. Planning at county level must have been chaotic for years . School Districts a mess in many parts of PA. depends on sociological dynamics of population . Police issue does NOT STAND by itself .

Gene Auman, SHRM-SCP said...

The 2016 information has not been posted yet but based upon 2015 info the cost for each resident of Bath is about $160 per person (2,600 residents - this does not include businesses unless they are also a resident).This compares to the amount currently proposed ($ 25per resident, I think) to assess municipalities for PSP coverage currently being considered. Although I appreciate the professional staff it seems that the chief is being paid too much considering there are only 25 officers (in 2015) compared to other police forces in the Lehigh Valley. I still believe that this costs is worth what we pay but am not sure that the current representatives understand enough to evaluate the various costs involved in current policing efforts.

Anonymous said...

Pa. needs to seriously look at municipal consolidation. It would save the taxpayers money and make government more efficient.

Anonymous said...

Twenty five dollars per person will get you a drive through once a day and no patrol time. Bath will become like the wild wild West without police.

Why are you jealous of a 30+ year public servant. Do you think the police Chief's salary would go down if a new chief was appointed. No, you pay for the position and that individuals expertise.

Time to wake up and pay for police or Old Forge will expand downtown and eastward.

Anonymous said...

One of the driving forces always seems to be "we don't want to increase taxes" that will come as a result of increasing regional police force costs. Several questions for Bath residents and officials to consider: Where were you when Lower Nazareth looked at this issue previously? Other than outrageous hourly rates and unnecessary billing by your borough solicitor, what else are you spending your money on since residents frequently complain about road conditions on non-PennDOT thoroughfares in Bath? With the number of newspaper crime stories that sadly often include Bath as a byline, will PSP coverage really do justice for your residents?

Peter J.Cochran said...

Anon 2;33 you are on the mark , no practical reason to have all these fire companies and individual police departments . Virginia is a commonwealth too they have Prince George's County Fire rescue ,EMS and PD school District and so forth .They are famous for performance. Our legislators need to get on this shortly just liken to the fraud of people using handicap tags in their window to park .

Anonymous said...

For those unaware, boroughs with a population of less than 5000 residents will be exempt from the $25 per person assessment if the proposal goes through as written.

Anonymous said...

Anyone bother to check the CRAP dept chief's background at northern York county regional police. This person should never have been allowed to continue in law enforcement. Serious issues which have repeatedly re surfaced in vindictive power tripping, morally and ethically questionable activities

Anonymous said...

Looking a little pouchy there "buzzzzzzzz"

FIORELLA R MIRABITO said...

IN ANSWER TO:
The current leadership of Bath including the Mayor and Manager are out of control. They are trying to find a cheap alternative after years of mismanagement. Heard that they are looking at other surrounding municipalities and PSP as a cheap alternative. Less expensive certainly isn't better. Rumor around town is that Moore Township will take over. That will quickly backfire as they aren't half the force Colonial is.

Perhaps they'll just be another municipality that relies on PSP. Do they really think that will work? No regular patrols, minimum staffing, etc. If it isn't a major crime, they might not see a police officer for a month.

The Mayor spends more time venting on both her personal and boroughs Facebook page than a blogger. We are a small community but I don't need to be lectured by her every day about how difficult it is to lead. Lead, follow or get out of the way.
We need to stay with the Colonial Regional PD who are among the best in the valley.



Dear Anonymous at 6:34am...

Since you seem to be a coward behind a computer - here's my answer to you...grow up.
Some of us GENUINELY CARE ABOUT BATH. I post on my personal page and Borough Facebook
page to keep everyone in Bath informed. I DON'T LECTURE ANYONE. If you don't like it - DONT READ IT.
Lastly, NO ONE EVER SAID A NEGATIVE WORD ABOUT CRPD...EVER.
Get informed before you spew mis-information from your uneducated mouth.

Sincerely,
The Out of Control Mayor

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mayor Mirabito,

Though I disdain anonymous personal attacks, I allow them when directed at elected officials. And the attack really is not personal. I reiterate what I have maintained for some time. Any municipality unable to provide for the public safety has no reason to exist. I have said this about West Easton, and have said it about Lower Macungie and even Williams and Upper Mount Bethel. This is pretty basic stuff and means a lot more than a farmer's market. I am happy to hear you have a high opinion of CRPD.

FIORELLA R MIRABITO said...

Mr O'Hare...
Thank you for your explanation. Bath Borough Council is faced with a very important and difficult decision going forward. I do not have a vote on Council...I am the tiebreaker. If anyone would like to see the finances of the Borough - it's public information. We are faced with many issues within our small Borough. I for one, have always been the cheerleader of CRPD. The men are wonderful - the service, always commendable. President Saginario has an open door policy - any and all questions in reference to police, will be answered. It's not about CRPD at all - it's about the Borough of Bath going forward. I try to keep everyone informed on social media - in all aspects of the Borough of Bath. People need to be better informed - before posting untruths. Public Safety is our #1 priority - without one single doubt.
Thank you for allowing me to respond.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Mayor, I appreciate your transparency and a town hall on a weekend.

Anonymous said...

Admission is the First Step. Stop telling. You proved my point. Thanks.

the other Ron said...

Seriously . . . who (really) provides the oversight for regional police?

Bernie O'Hare said...

It is a police commission consisting of representatives from Hanover, Lower Nazareth and Bath. They have an equal voice, and can opt out.

Anonymous said...

Here's a win win for everyone, the municipalities, the taxpayers and the cops. Two of the members of the CRPC can vote to dissolve the CRPC immediately. At that point, the municipalities would receive their proportionate shares of the cash value of the assets. Hanover would start their own police department and they already have their building. They would pay Lower Nazareth for their half of the building. Lower Nazareth would start their own PD and save their taxpayers about $300 K a year. Bath would walk away with cash from their share. Now Bath is in the driver's seat. They can determine how much they want to pay for police services and put it out to bid with Hanover, Lower Nazareth and Moore Township. In fact, they can also rely on the State Police. As far as the cops, they would probably end up working for either Hanover or Lower Nazareth. You already have a Chief and a qualified Deputy Chief. One of them could be the Chief of Hanover PD and the other could be the Chief of the Lower Nazareth PD. Everybody wins!

Anonymous said...

Mayor Morabito is right in her assessment and I have never heard any animosity towards the CRPD from her. BOH is also right that public safety is the No.1 priority of local municipal governments. However, it is council's responsibility to provide the most efficient and cost effective public safety services. Bath Borough's fiscal future is very dim. [Their budget is posted on their website]. The cost to maintain CRPD's yearly services demands that 83.9% of their budget goes to wages, employee benefits and pension costs. This has led to a spiraling of costs that Bath cannot sustain in the future. Therefore, the mayor and council are looking for alternative ways to combat this calamity as soon as possible. Without a change in the funding and cost sharing formula, Bath Borough cannot remain in the CRPD. But if the diehard supporters of the CRPD are willing to accept the hardships that will come by staying in this very expensive partnership, council will have no alternative but to raise taxes and cut services to other needed municipal responsibilities. Simple, pay the CRPD maximum hourly patrol rate of $36.05 or pay the mean average hourly patrol rate of $27.40. While Hanover and Lower Nazreth's tax base expands, Bath's contracts. Where is the equity?

Anonymous said...

10:49 that is a novel workable proposal. They both, Hanover and Lower Nazareth Townships, have deep pockets and can run independently of each other. Regionalization can be good, but there becomes a point when costs exceed their usefulness. Twenty years is along time, however, we knew from the beginning that something has to give. Apparently, we are at the crossroads and a new beginning is at hand. Ask Upper Macungie and the former Berks Regional municipalities about this issue.

Anonymous said...

If you only knew how horribly stretched PSP is already, it would not even be a consideration to rely on them. There are times when Belfast only has one car on and they end up covering from Upper Mount Bethel down to Williams Township. Things like the recent criminal mischief spree in Bath will NOT be taken care of quickly by PSP, as they simply do not have the staffing for it.

Anonymous said...

There is no law that requires the Boroughs and and Township's to have their own local police. If Lower Macungie and North Whitehall can rely on State Police with a combined population of over 40,000, why not Bath? PSP works just fine for these communities. Yes all our tax dollars pay for PSP so why shouldn't Bath and other communities enjoy the daily service of arguably one of the best Police agencies in the Country! Not having and paying for local police is a tax windfall for these localities. Why not take advantage and laugh all the way to the bank?

Anonymous said...

That makes way too much sense. Something tells me that one of the three tennants of the regional commission is being subsidized by the others and will pull out the stops to keep this all in tact. In the name of public safety of course, and the jobs of these dedicated public servants.

Failure to go in the direction prescribed above seems sketchy.

Anonymous said...

Stop picking on LMT. I just want to know when PennDOT is going to fix the roads in LMT. Granted development created the problem, however, we are entitled to taxpayers subsidies. Time for my $5 french blend latte.

Anonymous said...

Not sure where you're getting your numbers from. Only 21% of Baths 2017 budget goes to CRPD. This price tag includes salaries, pension and healthcare contributions that are associated with CRPD. 21% is a relatively small portion of a budget compared to all other municipalities in the LV.

Bernie O'Hare said...

"There is no law that requires the Boroughs and and Township's to have their own local police."

But there should be. Any municipality that fails to provide public safety is failing inits primary role as a government and has no reason to exist.

Anonymous said...

Here are some interesting statistics that municipal officials and taxpayers should consider in evaluating Colonial Regional Police costs. The 2017 CRPD Budget is $3.5 million, of that amount, Bath's portion is approximately $414,000 (11.6%), Hanover's portion is approx. $1.8 million (51.2%) and Lower Nazareth's portion is approximately $1.3 million (37.1%). Population by municipality is Bath 2,700, Hanover 11,300 & Lower Nazareth 6,046. Total population for all 3 municipalities = 22,046. To gauge the cost incurred for police services; you calculate cost per resident. So $3.5 million divided by 22,046 = $159 cost per resident. This would be the amount if all three municipalities in the CRPD paid equal shares; however, that is not the case. Based on the CRPD funding formula, Bath is paying $153 per resident; Hanover is paying $160 per resident and Lower Nazareth is paying $217 per resident. So based on the real numbers, Bath and Hanover are getting subsidized significantly from Hanover and Lower Nazareth. In fact, it looks like Lower Nazareth is subsidizing Hanover.
Now to put that into perspective, Bath needs to compare their $153 figure with the proposed costs in House Bill 709. If the bill passes, the proposed legislation calls for charging municipalities for State Police coverage. The first year is $52 per person, year two is $104 and year three is $156.

Quite a different picture, Isn't it?

Anonymous said...

The mayor had the courage to put her name to her comments. How about the management who distorts everything. Divide and conquer. Let's do some open record requests on how many of the Mayor's projects are run through the Township. Her pink projects, spuds and now paws. Has any broke even?

Anonymous said...

You are totally overlooking the rampant retail theft at the Walmart which crushes the calls for service. That makes up for the addition overcharge per Lower Nazareth resident. How dare you malign those who know better with your fancy numbers and logic.

Anonymous said...

5:23

Using cost per resident is not meaningful. A large part of Lower Nzareth's tax base comes from the commercial and industrial tax base and not just residential properties.

Anonymous said...

If cost per resident is not meaningful, why is used as a barometer to compare police costs? Are you going to tell me next that miles per gallon is not a good measure to determine fuel economy between motor vehicles?

Anonymous said...

Cost per resident would be meaningful if all communities were similar in their makeup. Lower Nazareth Township has a large commercial and industrial base. These entities pay taxes and use police services as well as the residents. Therefore they have to be inlcluded when comparing the equity of the funding.

Anonymous said...

So, Lower Nazareth is to be assessed a higher payment because their leadership had the foresight to establish a robust commercial tax base? Be careful when looting from Atlas. At some point he will shrug.

Anonymous said...

6:48 your logic is flawed. Cost per resident is a barometer to use as a common measure, just like miles per gallon is used to measure motor vehicles. If you can't see the similarity, I can't think of any other analogy to make my case. Regarding a "large commercial and industrial base" in Lower Nazareth, that is not true also. I think you mean, Lower Nazareth has a lot of warehouses, which is different than commercial and industrial. This kind of development does in fact pay taxes and uses police services; however, they do not use police services as much as residential development does. The municipal service cost per tax dollar is much higher for residential than it is for warehouses.

Anonymous said...

8:49, The warehouses don't use much of the police service in LNT, its the commercial shopping area on Rt.248. If you look at the LV planning commission data, LNT is like #3 or #4 in the valley with its total sq ft of retail. Walmart alone probably accounts for a large chunk of police services. Yet they don't count as a resident to be considered for the per resident cost argument.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I'd agree that Lower Naz does have a very robust commercial tax base, and the leaders who had that vision also had the foresight to provide for a responsive and professional police department. They knew that as the tax base grows, so does the demand for public safety. You might argue that Hanover and Bath are actually subsidizing Lower Naz bc there are more police calls and man hours spent there. If you recalculated the formula based on police response, I believe Lower Naz would be paying more.

Without question, you could completely ignore your own citizens and pull out. You could install a part-time police department that would simply lack the resources to do much of anything. Or you could have a professional and highly motivated department with excellent officers.

I know that is what the people want and they are willing to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Bath should have put a non binding referendum on the ballot in May and allowed the residents to decide. The advisory group they put together can be the fall guys for council.

FIORELLA R MIRABITO said...

5:32pm:
Feel free to do any open records requests - knock yourself out. Turn Bath Pink funds were ALL donated to the American Cancer Society; ALL funds for Paw Park and for Turn Bath Pink go through the Borough. By the way, Bath is a Borough - not a Township. Spuds & Suds is a Chamber event - not a Mayor event. Perhaps you should get your facts straight. This blog is about police - not the Mayor. Yes, I do have the courage to post my name - I'm not a spineless coward behind a computer screen, posting "anonymously".

Anonymous said...

This is nothing more than a stunt to raise taxes and get buy in from the taxpayers! Bath has no intention of leaving Colonial. They are voting members of the Colonial Regional Police Commission, yet they do nothing to cut costs. They just keep rubber stamping the CRPD budget increases year after year! Now they put us taxpayers in a position to raise taxes or else we will get inferior police coverage or no coverage at all.

According to the Lehigh Valley live article, there are 3 choices. Raise taxes and stay in Colonial, contract with Moore Township or rely on State Police. According to Flynn, the borough was approached by Moore Township about police coverage in 2012 and they would have saved approx. $20,000 a year by switching, but decided the savings were not worth giving up a their one-third vote in the regional force to move to contracted services. And they felt they would have no say in how services are delivered. What? Isn't that the point of a contract? If you don't get what you contracted for, you settle it in court. Anyway, with this kind of thinking, Bath will not be contracting with Moore. The council doesn't want to rely on state police and there will be enough citizens to support this notion. So that leaves us with default solution; raise taxes and stay with Colonial. There you have it! The taxpayers get screwed again.

Ann M Munoz said...

Looking at the percentage of patrol coverage CRPD provides, Bath 'uses' less than 15 percent of CRPD's attention [%13.74 to be exact] while Hanover gets %49.15 and LN %37.11. Splitting the cost equally (not assuming they do) among the townships/boroughs obviously benefits some in this mix more than others. State Police or Moore could certainly accommodate that amount of police coverage in Bath, leaving CRPD free to respond to all the shoplifters at Walmart and offer more availability to Hanover, which seems to constitute near half of where their current duties lie.
Bath has no more room to grow. There isn't going to be a major influx of new home buying taxpayers attracted to the town contributing to the rising costs of CRPD. Overtaxing the current residents for 15 percent of a service, no matter how wonderful it claims to be, is not the only, or maybe even the best answer.
I remember when Bath had its own police department and in my opinion it was a much nicer place to live. The officers had an invested relationship with the borough and its residents. They weren't so overly focused on generating revenue with citations and could pay closer attention to core problems as they were developing. Bath was their town too and they treated it as such.
Moore Township has some of the best officers I have met in a long time. They are familiar with the area, they are committed, professional and courteous. If the need arises, Bath would do well to have them on patrol and the switch to Moore or State may serve as a needed step toward generating the town's own self sufficient department again.
It sounds to me like CRPD has outgrown the borough's needs, more than it does the other way around.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Your data is flawed. Bath pays 13% of the CRPD budget and receives 15% of the services. The real question here - since Bath has no room to grow, according to you, and appears to be mortgaged near its limits, should it exist? If you think Bath has a problem with growth now,try rplacing a good police department with one that is not there. Watch the property values drop and the people leave, and then ask yourself how great things are.

leetenant said...

Promote conceal and open carry in Bath borough. Also, consider hiring a private police force to patrol the town if they can offer quality service at cost savings.