LOWER NAZARETH TWP., Pa. - Lower Nazareth Township will not "go it alone" when it comes to having its own police force.
The township's board of supervisors voted 3-2 to rescind its previous request to withdraw from the Colonial Regional Police Department during its Wednesday night meeting held at in the auditorium of Lower Nazareth Elementary School to accommodate a large crowd which turned out.
Chairman Eric Nagle and Supervisor Robert Kucsan provided the dissenting votes.
The motion to rescind its intention to leave Colonial Regional was made by Vice President James Pennington, who said in his estimation it is more prudent long-term to stay with them.
"There's a lot of growth in Lower Nazareth and I think in the long run, looking five to 10 years down the road, even if we had our own police force...that we may have to increase our own force if we had one, so it would cost approximately the same," Pennington said.
Opting for a different assessment of the situation was Kucsan, who noted that a recent study found that Lower Nazareth could save about $238,000 annually by leaving Colonial Regional.
"You're going to raise taxes on all these people," Kucsan told Pennington of all the residents seated in the elementary school auditorium. ""We'd get about $1.2 or $1.3 million back by leaving."
It wasn't just the money that has turned Kucsan sour on the Colonial Regional department.
"We don't get to bring anything up with them,"Kucsan said of the township's relationship with the police department's other regions it serves - Hanover Township and Bath.
Kucsan said the township and borough consistently vote together and that majority leaves Lower Nazareth Township consistently out in the cold.
"We don't have a thing to say about it because we get outvoted every time. If they change that formula where you would need a unanimous vote, that would help. But that's not what they want to approve. So we're stuck with the 2-to-1, so we don't get anything we want or to bring up anything we want...It's not fair."
Supervisor Martin Boucher said "it's no way it's cheaper having our own department."
Nagle noted that 35 percent of the township's budget is dictated by the Colonial Regional to the tune of about $1.2 million.
"The (funding) formula hurts us in a negative way," Nagle said. "It's frustrating to raise taxes over something of which we have no control."
The recent study mentioned by supervisors on Wednesday night indicated that Lower Nazareth residents pay about $210 per year for police coverage, nearly $50 more per years than Hanover and Borough of Bath residents.
Allentown, PA 18102