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East Greenville Mayor Proposes Leaving Upper Perk Police Dept.
Written by Sergei Blair Correspondent

                After weeks of stalemate and back-and-forth negotiations, members of the Upper Perk Police Commission approved the 2015 budget and police chief's contract Nov. 24. The new budget sees a significant increase of more than $95,000 but not everyone is satisfied - including Ryan Sloyer, mayor of East Greenville. 

                Sloyer proposed his own plan to members of the borough council last Tuesday night, to seek cost-cutting measures by creating East Greenville's independent three-man police force. Under the new plan, the borough would secede from its joint police contract with Pennsburg in order to form its own force of two full-time officers, one chief and a part-time secretary.  Sloyer, a member of the police commission, said his plan would save the borough between $120,000 and $150,000 annually. 

                The mayor presented members of council with early drafts of 2016 and 2017 budgets and said the savings under the proposed plan would be "tremendous" in the first year. He added that those savings would increase further in 2017 and beyond.

                "We need to have some type of plan that if things get too expensive we have that plan in place. We can't just live year to year," Sloyer said. "I know it's not the most favorable thing that the officers would like to hear but I think we owe it to the residents of East Greenville to explore all options."

                Borough council member Andrew Rock made the motion to pass the proposed police chief's contact and budget and council unanimously carried it forward.

                According to documents, the police budget for 2015 totals $1,284,188; Pennsburg will pay $706,303.40 and East Greenville will pay its portion of $577,884.60—that's a $95,237 increase over last year's budget of $1,188,951. According to East Greenville's mayor, the new budget amounts to 43 percent of the borough's entire annual budget. He projects that number will reach to 50 percent by year 2017. 

                "The cost for our senior citizens continues to go up … we have too many houses under foreclosure and this is driving people away from our town. We need to start bringing people back by starting to think about the future right now," Sloyer said.

                Sloyer said his initial objection to the proposed police commission budget stemmed from reports that police department vehicles were being utilized for personal use and unpaid time off was being frequently requested. 

                The new police chief's contract granted Chief Michael Devlin with a pay raise and time off for an additional holiday. Sloyer said that it's minor line items like these, however, that are causing the boroughs to cough up more every year. 

                "I fully take the blame that we've passed contracts with smaller items now costing us big money which we did not project," Sloyer said.

                Devlin's contract will expire on December 31, 2018.

                Borough Manager James Fry reported to council members his plan to submit a grant application to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) Green Light - "GO program, to seek repairs and upgrades to a traffic light post at intersection of 4th and Main streets.  Fry said the poll, which is around 50 years old, supports the control box for traffic signal and is also a part of the signal switch itself.  PennDOT program's terms require the applicants to allocate 50 percent of matching funds before the department could distribute its cost toward the project.

                Council agreed to hold the year-end meeting on December 16, at 7 p.m. to adopt conditions of the 2015-16 fiscal year budget.








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