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East Greenville Approves Clubhouse Conversion Borrowing
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            East Greenville Borough Council voted Monday to borrow $90,000 to help fund the conversion of the Colonial Village Clubhouse to a police department. During the public meeting, the members also approved separate resolutions to hire a part-time police officer and purchase one mobile and one portable radio.

            Council member Ryan Pugh voted against all three measures. Joe Arahill also voted against the motion that allows municipal officials to borrow the money from the borough's water plant at an interest rate of 2.4 percent over five years to help pay for the work at the clubhouse.

            The agreement does not include any late fees, according to council President Tracey Hunsinger.

            "We decided paying interest to ourselves was better than paying it to a bank," she said.

            Prior to the vote, Jim Raftery – an audience member and a candidate for council in November's General election – pointed out that the amount matched the total exceeded the borough's budget projection.

            "The reason it is so high is because you rushed it," Raftery said during the meeting.

            In July, municipal approved a motion to pay Hereford contractor to John Membrino $159,021 to compete the work. Initially, Mayor Ryan Sloyer estimated the conversion cost at between $50,000 and $75,000.

            Prior to the July 25 vote, two professionals representing the municipality's contracted engineering firm explained that the bid environment, the low number of bidders, a compressed construction period and the relatively small size of the project helped lead to inflated bids.

            The male officer, hired pending successful physical, psychological and uranalysis tests as well as a clean background check will likely work between 21 and 30 hours a week, according to police Chief Drew Skelton.

            "We're going to use him to fill in the gaps," Skelton said during the meeting.

            Though borough officials wouldn't disclose the identity of the new officer, Skelton described him as a 27-year-old Perkasie native who currently works full time in security at a local college.

             According to the chief, the current plan is to rely on the state police to cover most overnights in the borough. He said the agency covered the hours between midnight and 6 a.m. Monday morning.

            Council also voted to spend up to $11,000 to purchase one portable and one mobile radio with a spare battery and a charger for the department. Hunsinger described the measure as necessary for the safety of the borough's officers.

            According to Hunsinger, municipal officials have not received their share of the police equipment – including the radios – following the dissolution of the Upper Perk Police District.

            After the meeting, Solicitor Stephen Kramer explained that the equipment has not been divided up, and that the issue has not yet been discussed. He declined to comment further.

            Participating in the meeting via telephone, Mayor Ryan Sloyer explained that the municipality has spent approximately $86,000 in startup costs – which includes salaries, weapons, outfitting the officers, vehicle payments and legal fees – for the department. He said that compared favorably to the borough's previous arrangement with the Upper Perk Police Commission, which would have cost the municipality approximately $107,000 during June and July.

            According to information provided by Skelton, the East Greenville Police Department responded to 19 calls for service in July. The agency handled three reported crimes and issued 14 traffic tickets/citations.

            "Most of it was minor stuff," the chief said during the meeting.

            The state police responded to 39 calls for service and six crimes last month, according to the same information.





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