Council votes to move police department

MUNCY — In a 5-2 decision, Muncy Borough Council voted to move the police department from the borough office, at 525 Washington Street, to share the Water Control building, on Old Glade Run Road, with West Branch Regional Authority.

Voting no were Elaine McAleer and Richard Baker. The council had previously waited on Christopher Kenyon, solicitor, to review the lease agreement.

“I don’t have any advised changes. One issue the council should be mindful of is, (WBRA) have the language in there that allows them to give a 90-day notice and take back that property if they want it for their own use,” he said.

If WBRA decided they needed the space, the police department would have to move back to the borough office, said Kenyon.

No member expressed concern that WBRA would need the space again.

James Dorman, police chief, said he met with Eric Moore, executive director of WBRA, and they agree upon a floorplan which would suit both parties.

McAleer said her primary concern was that the finance committee could not find the $7,000 estimated by the borough treasurer, which includes insurance, utilities, and $1,000 of maintenance, for the move.

“We had a real hard time finding money for this project,” she said. “And we’ve now created new line-items for police down there where there are no funds.

Linda Stein, council member, said other funds could be implemented to supplement the move.

“There seems to be a feeling that the changes to the building itself could be regarded as capital improvement, we are relocating the capital and we have a capital improvement fund,” she said.

Additionally, the council will look into using funds from Act 13 funds — money taxed from oil and natural gas companies as an impact fee, and directed to be used for capital equipment and buildings.

Among other lease agreement items of note: the borough will pay 80 percent of insurance, to match their use of the building; Both parties will share bathroom facilities, the parking lot, and be responsible for the maintenance of each designated portion of the building; and the borough will be responsible for any costs related to the improvement or adjustment of the building to facilitate the police department.

In other police department related business, McAleer said the part-time police budget only has $2,700 left for the year and would need replenished.

Muncy Borough has ended more than one year in a row with a surplus, according to Feigles, and is set to do the same this year.

“The way (the budget) is classified and what has to be done with it precludes it from being used as wages,” he said. “I’d say this particular issue needs a sit-down, in and of itself.”

As a part of the finance process for the borough, Stein said, each department head should have a lead role in determining his own department allocations.

“I see nothing wrong with him addressing the issue and going over the budget and making recommendations as to how line-items may be shifted from one line-item to another,” she said.

The council tabled the matter until a later date and will arrange to meet with the finance committee, Mayor, and Dorman.

All members were present.

The next scheduled Muncy Borough Council meeting is at 7 p.m. on June 20, in the borough office at 525 Washington St.