Seven Fields Withdraws Request for Early Police Termination
Manager Tom Smith says the borough still is committed to moving forward with a regional police force with Evans City but needs more time to address Cranberry’s concerns.
While the borough still has plans for a joint police force with Evans City, Seven Fields has withdrawn a request for early termination of the police services contract currently in place with neighboring Cranberry Township.
“We’re still planning on moving forward with the regional police department,” said Seven Fields manager Tom Smith. “I think it’s more of a fit for Sevens Fields and Evans City because of the size.”
At the request of Seven Fields, Cranberry’s board of supervisors were expected to vote Thursday on a resolution for early termination of the police services agreement.
The township has provided police protection to the borough since 1993. The current six-year contract runs through 2016, with an earlier optional termination date at the end of 2014.
However, Seven Fields—which Smith said is done growing—no longer can afford to pay a portion of Cranberry’s police budget, according to borough officials.
After a meeting Monday with Cranberry, Smith said Seven Fields decided to ask township supervisors to table the termination request until a later date. This was done so Seven Fields could address Cranberry’s worries about releasing the borough from the agreement, he said.
The borough also has asked Cranberry officials to submit to their questions and concerns regarding the creation of the Evans City/Seven Fields regional police force and its potential impact on Cranberry.
“Obviously we want to provide Cranberry with all the information we can possibly give them and ease any concern they have on how it would impact them,” Smith said.
Township officials have expressed a number of concerns in releasing Seven Fields from the contract, including finances and the amount of mutual aid Cranberry may have to provide to the new joint force if members of the new force are not immediately available for a call.
Under the terms of the agreement, Seven Fields is scheduled to pay the township about $715,00 in the next two years. Township manager Jerry Andree said losing that money would affect Cranberry’s police department, which was budgeted according to that number.
The borough would need to provide the township with compelling information addressing those issues for Cranberry to consider terminating the contract prior to 2014, Andree said.
“It’s incumbent on them to provide convincing reason for them to do it,” he said.
Seven Fields officials have expressed their desire to have the new regional force in place by Jan. 1 2013.
Smith said that date is now up in the air while the borough addresses Cranberry’s concerns.
“Ideally, that is what we’d like to do, but if we had to move it back to sometime in 2013, we’re flexible on that,” he said.
At a September meeting, the borough gave a public presentation on plans for the joint force with Evans City, which would provide 24/7 coverage for both communities.
Smith said Seven Fields would save about $90,000 in 2013 by creating a regional department with Evans City. Evans City would see savings of about $100,000 in the first year of the agreement, he said. For more details, click here.
For a look at Cranberry's police services agreement with Seven Fields, click on the PDF at the top of the article.