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A township supervisor is asking Berks County to take over the costs of emergency communication services.

Joe Rudderow, a Maidencreek Township supervisor, read a letter from the Berks County Department of Emergency Services at Thursday morning's meeting of the county commissioners.

The letter advised the township of a 7% increase in its emergency communication services costs in 2020, the same increase as 2019.

According to Rudderow, the letter included the following costs for the township in 2020:

  • police dispatching services: $68,898.41
  • fire dispatching services: $20,425.21
  • EMS dispatching services: $20,053.63

The total annual cost to Maidencreek Township taxpayers would be $109,377.25.

Rudderow said that cost is putting a lot of pressure and strain on local governments.

"The county 911 system is a county obligation, to the best of my knowledge, that the county should be paying for, not distributing its costs out to its respective municipalities," Rudderow said. "I would respectfully ask the board of commissioners to rescind their policy of passing these expenses onto the municipalities."

After the meeting, Commissioner Christian Y. Leinbach said it is not the county's responsibility but is something it has taken on.

In other public comments, Robert Roger Thomas, a representative from the Conference of Consumer Organizations, discussed concerns about the current jury compensation in Pennsylvania.

Jurors are paid $9 per day for the first three days and $25 per day after that (80% of which is recoverable from the state). The employer is paid nothing, and the county has to pay the taxes.

Thomas said the statute needs to be updated, and he has been gathering data from each of the counties to present to state Rep. Rob Kauffman. Thomas said he is asking the commissioners to share information with Kauffman regarding their experience with jury compensation and how much they have been able to recover.