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EG Council Sticking with Borough Police
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            East Greenville Borough Council scrapped a plan to disband its police department and contract with the Upper Perk Police Department on Tuesday. Mayor Keith Gerhart called the issue "dead." President Angie Fegely said the agreement could be revisited at a future date.

            "This hurts me terribly," Gerhart said prior to an executive session to discuss pending litigation with Pennsburg. "I tried my best to do what the voters elected us to do."

            The members removed a motion from its Jan. 30 special meeting agenda to eliminate the Borough of East Greenville Police Department. Gerhart cited financial issues in Pennsburg as a key factor for the decision to retain the department and relent on a campaign promise to return the Upper Perk Police Department. On Jan. 19, council voted to table a proposal to contract for police services with Pennsburg.

            "Right now, there's nothing to discuss," he said during the meeting. "There's nothing on the table."

            The mayor referenced a special meeting called by Pennsburg borough council for the following night to discuss the Upper Perk police. He said the municipality could lay off up to two officers.

            "Under those circumstances, going back to the Upper Perk Police Department would not be an option," Gerhart said.

            Vice President Jim Raftery, one of six candidates to successfully run on a platform of returning the Upper Perk police to East Greenville, said he wanted to move on with borough business.  "I'm not happy, I'm not sad," Raftery said during the meeting. "If Pennsburg really has to layoff officers, then it breaks my heart."

            Member Lon Brinckman II said he was not okay with the decision to stick with East Greenville's police department. Prior to the executive session, Brinckman repeated his assertion that the three-member department should be eliminated because it was created hastily.

            He said the new council members ran out of time to work out the details, and didn't rule out the possibility they would reconsider the idea.  "Who knows what the future holds," Brinckman said.

            On Jan. 2, the newly seated council introduced an interim fee-for-service agreement that would have brought the Upper Perk Police Department back to the borough on a round-the-clock basis at midnight on Wednesday, Jan. 3. East Greenville would have paid Pennsburg $42,500 per month as part of the 60-day agreement. Gerhart was also prepared to fire the department's three officers during the meeting.

            A motion introduced by Eric Grubb to fund an impartial survey for all borough residents regarding the potential costs of maintaining the municipal police force or contract service from the neighboring municipality passed earlier in the month. Raftery, Joe Rock and Fegely voted against the motion.  Grubb, Brinckman II, Marita Thompson, and Alison Palmer voted in favor of the survey.

            Gerhart and Fegely had budgeted $510,000 for a one year contract with Pennsburg. The mayor said they were negotiating a three-year deal with the neighboring borough.





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