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East Greenville Votes to Advertise New Police Department Ordinance
Written by Bradley Schlegel Staff Writer

        At a special meeting filled with contentious audience comments Monday, East Greenville Borough Council voted to advertise an ordinance to create its own police department.

        A separate motion to advertise the bids to convert the Colonial Village Clubhouse into a police department also passed.

        Council members Ryan Pugh, Jennifer Moran and Michael Perlow Jr. voted against both motions. Prior to the votes, Perlow repeated his concerns that municipal officials were moving too quickly to form the East Greenville Borough Police Department.

        "I'm incredibly concerned that we are moving forward with this, and we're not sure how much it is going to cost," he said prior to the vote. "I have not seen a budget for this department."

        The ordinance to dissolve the borough's participation in the Upper Perk Police Commission and create an independent department will be considered at council's April meeting, according to President Tracey Hunsinger.

        Municipal officials are planning to withdraw from the commission on June 1. Mayor Ryan Sloyer previously expressed a desire to create a department and a police presence in the borough by that date.

        Citizens questioned the startup and annual cost of operating a police department, and accused council of acting improperly to hold the meeting.

        Eric Grubb, a Primary candidate, read aloud two paragraphs from the Pennsylvania Borough handbook and attempted to question each council member individually. On multiple occasions, Hunsinger raised her voice and banged her gavel in an attempt to facilitate order.

        She explained that council followed the law by advertising the meeting four days in advance, in the Town and Country newspaper, to make sure most residents were made aware of it.

        According to Solicitor Stephen Kramer, the ordinance's boiler plate language would give council the authority to create the department and hire a chief and officers. He said the department would commence services upon the hiring of a chief.

        Kramer also said its broad language would allow the elected officials to determine how many officers the department needs to hire.

        During the 45-minute public meeting, Perlow asked to see a five-year budget for the proposed department.  "What I'm trying to find out is if we can afford it over the long term," he said.

        Sloyer told the councilman that municipal officials have created a five-year budget. The mayor said that the document was made available to the public at council meetings in October and November. Last month, Sloyer mailed a letter to all borough residents and properties owners, outlining the cost of creating an East Greenville Police Department. He estimated total start-up costs for a "basic functioning police department" would be between $200,000 and $250,000.

        Hunsinger said officials created an acceptable budget related to the new police department. "We've done the research," she said, adding that all budget documents will be posted on the borough's website on Wednesday.

        Sloyer previously estimated the cost of renovating the clubhouse at $50,000. During the meeting, he said officials also considered the old firehouse, in the 400 block of Main Street, and Borough Hall. However, the old firehouse had no room to expand and utilizing Borough Hall would force council to relocate to the clubhouse, he said.






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