Seven Fields will share with the public a proposed plan for a regional police department with Evans City.
Borough officials are set to view a power point presentation on the joint force at Monday’s council meeting at 6 p.m. at the municipal building.
Currently, Seven Fields contracts its police services with neighboring Cranberry Township.
However, manager Tom Smith said the borough could no longer afford to pay a percentage of Cranberry's police budget, especially as the township continues to attract residents and businesses. Seven Fields is done growing, he said.
Under the terms of the contract—which runs through 2016, with an earlier optional termination date at the end of 2014—Seven Fields, which is made up of about 2,887 residents, pays 7.5 percent of the Cranberry Township police budget. In 2012, that amounted to $337,074. By 2016, it will grow to about $400,000.
According to the power point presentation, the joint Evans City/Seven Fields regional department could be ready to go by Jan. 1, 2013.
The mayors of each municipality, plus two council members from each borough, with one alternating vote very two years, will oversee the department, according to the presentation.
The department would provide 24-hour coverage seven days per week for each community. It will be made up of three fulltime police officers (including a chief, sergeant and a corporal) and nine to 12 part-time officers.
The proposed budget for the regional department is $495,856, according to the presentation. Evans City’s portion of that would be $233,052. The cost for Seven Fields would be $262,804.
Smith said Seven Fields would be applying for a $50,000 grant from the Department of Community Economic Development’s municipal assistance program for start-up costs for the joint force. Earlier in September, borough officials also approved a formal request for a feasibility study from the state on the joint department.
In the meantime, the borough has requested early release from its contract with Cranberry.
Township manager Jerry Andree said Cranberry officials would consider terminating the contract if Seven Fields provides them with a detailed plan for police protection. He noted it took Cranberry and Seven Fields more than 18 months to iron out issues in 1993 before coming to a police services agreement. Prior to that, Seven Fields had its own department.
Cranberry officials also have expressed concerns of how Seven Fields’ plans for police protection could affect the township.
“Our board will consider it when they learn how police protection will actually be provided,” Andree said. “Not just what they think they’ll do, but the more concrete evidence.”
Thoughts on Seven Fields' plans for police protection? What do you think about a regional Evans City/Seven Fields police department? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.