The Lower Nazareth Board of Supervisors voted to reaffirm Eric Nagle’s ‘nay’ vote in opposition to the proposed 2014 Colonial Regional Police budget.
The Colonial Regional Police Department currently provides joint service to Bath Borough, Hanover Township and Lower Nazareth Township.
The other two municipalities voted to uphold the proposed budget, giving them the simple majority needed to carry the vote.
By reaffirming their dissenting vote, Lower Nazareth now has a six month period to rescind, otherwise, the motion will be considered a withdrawal from the joint service provided by Colonial Regional.
“I’m not recommending a withdrawal at all,” said board chairman Eric Nagle. “I’m just disappointed because of this large tax increase.”
At their previous meeting, the Lower Nazareth board managed to avoid raising taxes in the municipality in spite of rising costs for essential services, costs that according to Nagle have hindered their ability to move on other projects.
“We’ve got growing needs that we’ve had to defer over the years,” he said. “For every dollar of tax we collect, over a dollar goes to police services.”
The board also expressed concern over the allegedly disproportionate funding of Colonial Regional.
“On a per-resident basis we’re paying a lot more than our partners,” said Nagle. Analysis has revealed that for each Lower Nazareth resident the municipality spends approximately $210.49 on police services, as opposed to Bath Borough and Hanover Township where the cost comes out to approximately $160 per resident.
“It seems a little disproportionate to us,” he said.
This year, the Colonial Regional Police Department’s budget expanded to hire an additional officer to their force, bringing the total to 25. This, however, was not accounted for in the 2014 budget approved later in the meeting.
The board reiterated their support of the Colonial Regional Police Department and stressed that this is not an indictment of their service.
“I see it as an opportunity to reevaluate our alternatives.”
The board authorized the solicitor to begin a cost-analysis of the Colonial Regional Department and potential alternatives.