Northampton Press

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Bath ends Colonial Regional pact

Wednesday, July 19, 2017 by BILL LEINER JR. Special to The Press in Local News

Council votes 7-0; search is on for new police coverage

In an effort to get its finances in order, Bath Borough Council voted 7-0 to end its 20-plus-year relationship with Colonial Regional Police Department.

CRPD Chief Roy Seiple and other officers were present for the July 12 vote. After the vote, they filed out of council chambers.

At numerous meetings before the vote, council members and borough Mayor Fiorella Reginelli-Mirabito expressed concern about a potential change. All praised CRPD for its outstanding police services. The issue came down to costs. Borough Manager Brad Flynn reported in previous meetings that costs for police services continued to escalate to the point the borough simply could not afford.

Council has been cutting costs wherever it can during 2017 to reduce a potential large budget shortfall for 2018. Every line item in the budget has been examined for possible reduction or elimination.

Moore Township offered a three-year contract for police coverage at about $273,000 per year.

Reached after the meeting, borough officials said, in addition to Moore’s proposal, they are considering possible Pennsylvania State Police coverage.

This year’s annual cost for CRPD coverage is $413,000, with an increase expected next year. If council chooses Moore Township, the three-year savings will be about $400,000. If a state police option is selected, the savings would be dramatic — more than $1,200,000 over three years.

Reginelli-Mirabito expressed to The Press she believes the CRPD is “ ... excellent. They responded to whatever I needed over the years. This vote was not about their police services quality; it was about affordability. We have to control taxes.”

Reginelli-Mirabito said she supported the council vote.

CRPD coverage will end January 2019. Council’s next step is to determine who will provide police services to Bath.

In other business, Reginelli-Mirabito regrettably announced the Bath Lions football program has ended.

“It is sad to see the program go. It helped a lot of kids over the years,” she said.

Also in her brief report, Reginelli-Mirabito announced there will be a free live concert to benefit Paws Park. Date and time will be announced.

Council member Carol Bear-Heckman reported the Greater Area Bath Chamber of Commerce will be supporting the second annual Suds and Spuds festival. The event is planned for noon-7 p.m. Aug. 26.

On July 27, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., at Weyerbacher’s in Easton, there will be a beer-tasting contest to decide which beer will be the official “Bath beer” of the Suds and Spuds festival. The contest is open to the public.

In the fire chief’s report, Emilio DeNisi reported the ladder truck is being sold with the proceeds to purchase an engine for the department’s pumper. The fire department also plans an open house in October.

Council member Phyllis Andrews, in her report, commented that the ordinance governing trash is too broad, making it unenforceable. Numerous garbage issues have come to light, she said, prompting one resident to say, “Walking downtown, it doesn’t smell very good.”

Council President Mark Saginario replied, “The ordinance will have to be segmented into several ordinances to make it enforceable.”

The next Bath Borough Council meeting is 7 p.m. Aug. 7 at the municipal building, 215 E. Main St.