Does it bother you to constantly see speeders violating the 25 mph speed limit on the streets of your neighborhood where children play? Do you ever wonder what our police force is doing or not doing to protect us from the perils posed by speeding vehicles that constantly endanger our children, elderly citizens, our property and our well being in general?
Can you imagine the external obsolescence this speeding problem causes to your property value? Do you wonder why this insidious problem never seems to abate?
Cranberry Township has budgeted in its 2012 budget $4,783,890 for public safety and this amount equates to 29 percent of the overall $16,520,134 general fund projected expenditures. Of this amount, Seven Fields (which was part of Cranberry Township until 1984) ponies up $337,074 for its 7.5 percent share of the 2012 CT police budget, a 2000 agreement for CT police to provide support for Seven Field’s population of 1,986 citizens and associated business.
CT’s public safety department consisting of one director, 28 policemen (one currently on medical leave), three admin and two part-time employees provides police support for 30,084 residents (CT’s 28,098 and Seven Fields 1,986) and a multitude of commercial and industrial businesses covering a 24 square-mile area.
It is my understanding that the recommended formula for public safety support is one police officer per 1,000 residents, which would equate to a staff of 30 police officers to support CT and Seven Fields. Considering CT’s staff of 28 policemen, of which one is convalescing, it appears that CT is understaffed by a minimum of two policemen and three when accounting for the tragic accident that imperiled Officer Hahn.
It is my understanding that the public safety department requested additional officers to fill the aforementioned shortfall for the 2012 budget, but was denied by the CT Board of Supervisors (CT BOS). This was the same CT BOS who approved the 2012 budget, which granted 10.5 net new personnel positions for other CT departments while denying the public safety department their critically required additional police officers.
Now, if you are still puzzled as to why CT cannot provide the requisite police support to mitigate the speeding problem in all of our residential neighborhoods, then wonder no more as this was a self-induced problem directly attributable to the inefficiencies of the CT BOS and CT township manager.
I am confident the CT BOS and township manager will tell you “we do not have the financial resources we need to fill every staffing requirement” and I accept that postulate only if 10.5 net new positions had not been added to the 2012 budget and only if every budget line item had been validated by the CT BOS. And sadly, $132,000 has been budgeted for overtime pay for police who constantly work additional hours due partially to the manpower shortage.
I do not believe the CT public safety department has sufficient resources to adequately protect its residents from incessant speeders who constantly run amuck through our neighborhoods. While I do not personally know of any person who has been visibly harmed from these scofflaws, one day it will surely be in the cards if CT does not take preemptive, corrective action to abate this problem in the very near term.
As I have viewed the excesses in the 2012 Cranberry Township Board of Supervisors-approved budget, there are many budget line items in which the fat can be trimmed without raising taxes to pay for additional police officers.
And going forward, God forbid if just one CT speeder hits one of our precious few!