With less than a month to mull and draft a proposal, the Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors says there is insufficient time to properly consider adding Nazareth Borough to Colonial Regional Police Department's coverage area.
"It’s too fast and there are too many details to consider," said Vice Chairman Robert Kucsan during a meeting Wednesday night. "If I have to say now, I say no. I don’t know if it’s a good deal."
Nazareth Borough Council approved a motion Dec. 3 to revisit contracting police services from a neighboring municipality. Nazareth wants an outside source to provide police services and asked six municipalities -- three of which make up Colonial Regional Police -- if they were interested.
The deadline to reply is Dec. 31.
"That’s kind of ridiculous," Supervisor Gerald Green said of the 28-day consideration period.
Chairman Eric Nagle expressed concern over the borough's request for a three-year contract at a cost not to exceed $2.8 million.
A formula is used to determine the share of the Colonial Regional Police budget to be paid by Lower Nazareth, Bath Borough and Hanover Township (Northampton County). That formula consists of:
- Assessed property values;
- And police incidents from the previous year.
"We pay by the incident," Nagle explained. "How will the fixed cost [proposed by Nazareth] work? Also, Nazareth has a lot of parades, Nazareth Days, etc. If we have a fixed cost, how will that work? None of it is spelled out."
The borough is also requesting to make equal, quarterly payments beginning in March, "but they’re asking for services to start in January. I’d want to see the payments upfront," Nagle said.
Nagle also found issue with the mandatory hiring of Nazareth’s three full-time officers -- with wages and benefits at least equal to the current Nazareth police contract.
"There is a process in place for hiring and testing that takes place," he said, adding that the application process is open to those officers. They shouldn't, however, be guaranteed positions, he said.
Agreeing to periodic foot patrols in the business district made Supervisor James Pennington uneasy.
"We don’t do foot patrols in the municipalities now," he said, adding that agreement may lead to foot-patrol requests in the rest of Colonial Regional's coverage area.
Nagle will bring the board's concerns to the Dec. 17 Colonial Regional Police Commission meeting, which is open to the public. The meeting starts at 7 p.m. and is held at the department's headquarters on Brodhead Road.
This isn't the first time Nazareth Borough has looked to Colonial Regional Police for coverage. In December 2011, Nazareth Mayor Fred Daugherty Jr. withdrew his recommendation to buy coverage from Colonial Regional Police after negotiations failed to move forward.