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Pennsburg Council Votes to Pay East Greenville in Police Settlement
Written by Bradley Schlegel, Staff Writer

            More than two months after losing a legal dispute with East Greenville over their formally shared police department, Pennsburg council decided to pay the price for its loss.  On Tuesday, without discussion, the members voted unanimously to approve a motion authorizing the payment of $83,553.75 to satisfy the judgment.

            On May 18, Judge Jeffrey S. Saltz ordered Pennsburg to pay East Greenville that amount in restitution for the equipment it kept following the dissolution of the Upper Perk Police Department. In a three-page decision, he ruled that Pennsburg's decision to keep the equipment for its police department constituted a breach of the parties' agreement.

            The awarded total accounts for 45 percent of the value of the equipment retained by Pennsburg following the July 1, 2017 dissolution of the Upper Perk Police District. Saltz's ruling states that the dissolution agreement provides two alternative courses of action: either a sale of assets (presumably with a distribution of the proceeds) or a distribution of the equipment and other assets in kind.  "Contrary to this requirement, Pennsburg simply retained the equipment for itself," Saltz wrote on page three of the decision.

            In addition to East Greenville winning its counterclaim regarding the equipment, Saltz also ruled in favor of the borough on a request regarding police pension funding. The judge determined that East Greenville is not required to fund Pennsburg Borough's police pension fund.

            Saltz, who heard arguments from attorneys via Zoom on May 9, determined that neither the inter-municipal agreement nor the collective bargaining agreement obliged either borough to continue funding the police pension once it leaves the agreement. He wrote that Pennsburg could not identify any provision of Pennsylvania law that would require continuing contributions from withdrawing municipalities.

            Further, the judge determined that East Greenville's share of the police pension fund was fully funded while it remained in the commission. He ruled that the court does not see a basis for requiring East Greenville to contribute to the pension of the officers since they ceased serving the borough's residents, according to the second page of the decision.

            On Sept. 6, 2016, East Greenville Council voted unanimously to end the agreement that established the Upper Perk Police District. Pennsburg Council, which filed the civil case six years ago against the neighboring municipality, did not appeal the decision based on the advice of its solicitor, according to Council President Diane Stevens. She wrote in a May 24 text message that the money would be paid out of borough funds.

            Vice President Patrick Suter participated electronically. Member Mike Mensch did not attend the meeting which lasted 22 minutes.

            Work to remove the bridge on Main Street remains on schedule, according to Member Wayne Stevens. He said after the meeting that crews finished removing the deck bridge.

            Diane Stevens expressed optimism that the work would be completed in time for the Upper Perkiomen Valley's annual Halloween Parade, which has been rescheduled for Sunday, Oct. 29. She said no rain date has been set.






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