The Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors Wednesday night stared down a projected increase -- almost 4 percent -- included in the Colonial Regional Police Department's 2013 budget.
The department, which was formed in 1995, serves Lower Nazareth Township, Hanover Township, Bath Borough and Chapman Borough. Chapman, the home of 234 residents, contracts services.
Supervisors Chairman Eric Nagle told the board that Colonial Regional's budget could climb from $3,163,478 in 2012 to $3,283,661 in 2013 -- an increase of about $120,000 to be shared by Lower Nazareth, Hanover and Bath.
Broken down, here's how Lower Nazareth's share looks:
- 2012 Police Budget: $1,043,332
- 2013 Police Budget (proposed) $1,090,743
- Increase Of: $47,411
“That’s going to be difficult,” said township Manager Timm Tenges. “Our revenue is flat and we may be looking at a reduction depending on tax appeals. I’m projecting 2013 as one of our worst years."
Tenges emphasized that it would be difficult to come up with almost $50,000 without cutting elsewhere in the township's budget.
“And I don’t know where I would cut,” he added.
A formula is used to determine the share of the budget to be paid by each municipality. That formula consists of:
- Assessed property values;
- And police incidents from the previous year.
The Colonial Regional Police Commission, which consists of representatives from Lower Nazareth, Hanover and Bath, develops and approves the budget. Nagle, in addition to being the township's representative, also acts as the commission's secretary and treasurer.
When deciding whether a regional department was the right fit for Lower Nazareth, Tenges previously said officials did a cost-benefit analysis.
In April 2011 -- against a backdrop of Nazareth possibly joining another police force -- the chief of Colonial Regional outlined for Nazareth Borough Council the advantages and disadvantages of regionalization.
Tenges was in the audience and chimed in.
“I think there was certainly a substantial cost savings from what we were paying,” Tenges said at the meeting. “But more so, we looked at the advantages of regionalizing and all of the factors in [Chief Roy Seiple’s] presentation, and that’s why we went regional.”
Nagle said he would express the board's concerns during the next round of budget discussions.
“I, for one, don’t want a tax increase,” Nagle said, drawing nods of agreement from his colleagues. The township's property tax did not budge in 2012.
The Colonial Regional Police Commission meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of the month at the department's headquarters on Brodhead Road. Meetings are open to the public.