Cumru police get new contract that's 'fair to both sides'


The Cumru Township commissioners and residents held a spirited discussion Tuesday night about plans for the new fire station to be built across Welsh Road from the township municipal building.

Commissioners David J. Batdorf and William B. Miller wanted to amend an earlier resolution that authorized $10 million for the building by asking bidders to bid alternatives to the plans, which would include space for a training room and an eating area.

Fire Chief James Beane supported bidding the alternatives but noted that "it was the commissioners right to decide what to do."

"I don't like asking taxpayers to pay for space that is already available," said Commissioner Ruth O'Leary

O'Leary said the township already has space in the municipal building and recreation center that can be used for training.

Commissioner Sheri Hoover supported O'Leary's position. As Commissioner Michael Thompson was absent from the meeting, the issue was deadlocked.

Township Solicitor Michael Setley advised that the amendment be withdrawn until the full board could meet.

Other action The board reaffirmed approval of the land development plan for Rahns-South Reading Truck Stop, owned by H&K Group Inc., subject to resolution of outstanding items in the Great Valley Consultants review letter dated November 5, 2018, including but not limited to execution of the stormwater agreement and provisions of a stormwater fee.

The commissioners adopted a resolution for the police pension 2020 MMO (minimum municipal obligation) in the amount of $893,385. Also, they adopted a resolution for the non-uniformed 2020 MMO as follows: $42,490 for the defined benefit portion of the plan, and $89,900 for the defined contribution portion of the plan. The amounts do not have to be paid until December 31, 2020.

The commissioners amended the fee structure for specialty structures such as those used for computers, electronics, HVAC and other unusual purposes. The base fee will be $200 plus 1% of the finished cost of the project and is intended to cover the cost of inspectors.

The commissioners approved the application for payment of $23,186.22 to Construction Masters Services for retainage of payment number 1 for 2019 road work. They also approved going to bid for the Brecon Lane storm sewer replacement project.

Township Manager Jeanne Johnston told the commissioners that the project was originally budgeted for $40,000, but that preliminary site work revealed far more damage than expected. She said the cost had risen to more than $185,000.

In addition, the commissioners approved a quote of $25,400 to perform geotechnical studies for emergency projects at Church and Yorkshire roads. Both roads experienced extreme slope failure due to the heavy rains earlier in the year.

Police Chief Madison Winchester reported that the township experienced 40 thefts in August, of which 24 were retail thefts.

"Retail thefts are nearly impossible to prevent," Winchester said, because most stores display their products on open shelves without any theft prevention devices.