Mount Carmel Township seeks solutions for constable costs
ATLAS - Mount Carmel Township is seeking solutions to lessen the impact of township police officers transporting prisoners to arraignments and preliminary hearings.
Supervisors aren't too happy about it, though.
"I think it's a joke," board chairman Charles Gasperetti said at Wednesday night's meeting. "To me, it's double-taxing the citizens. The county is taking away services the taxpayers are already paying for, and now they are pushing the burden onto the municipalities, and they might have to raise taxes to meet them."
On Tuesday, Northumberland County commissioners, on a 2-1 vote, said they will no longer use state constables to transport inmates to and from arraignments and hearings. The commissioners placed the responsibility of paying constable fees and transporting prisoners on the municipalities that arrest them, effect Jan. 1.
Police chief Brian Hollenbush has discussed options with chiefs in other municipalities in preparation for what lies ahead.
"It's going to be bad," Hollenbush said. "It's going to be a learning process, but right now we can utilize the part-time officers to cover the township when transportation has to be done, while we look for a better way."
The biggest problem, Hollenbush said, is municipalities were blindsided by the move.
"We haven't gotten any official notification on it," the chief said, referring the other departments he's spoken with. "We were told that it could happen, but we found out about it in the newspaper."
At Wednesday's meeting, the board announced that all boats and trailers must be off township streets from Nov. 21 to April 1. Tickets will be issued beginning Dec. 1. Also, directional parking is waived during the same time period.
In other business, the board approved its 2013 tentative budget on a 3-0 vote with Gasperetti, Joseph Zanella and Reynold Schicchitano voting to advertise. Expenses for the year total $1,268,099.15, and Zanella said that they are waiting for final numbers for their revenue amount, but expects it to be a balanced budget.
The board also approved the purchase of a 2004 Ford Expedition from the Federal Surplus Program at a cost of $11,500. The vehicle will be used for code enforcement and other general purposes. Two other vehicles owned by the township, a 2001 and 1998 Ford Crown Victoria, will be advertised for sale with a reserve, or minimum, bid in place.
Ordinances were approved for advertisement to waive contributions by members of the police force to the police pension fund for fiscal years 2010 to 2012.