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Ordinance sets stage for police reconfiguration in South Williamsport and Duboistown boroughs

DuBoistown Borough Council approved a police-related ordinance Monday night, setting the stage for a contract negotiation with South Williamsport before specific details such as cost sharing, vehicle use and coverage can be finalized with the police department reconfiguration between the two boroughs.

The vote was 7-0 with approvals by council President Michael Rogers, Eric Fausy, Eric Hine, Paul McKinley, Richard Boyles, Nathan Maynard and Shawn Millard.

The ordinance does nothing to describe cost sharing, or coverage details other than being the first step toward the contract, which is next on the schedule for the boroughs, according to Ann Baker, DuBoistown borough manager.

The ordinance, a copy of which was available to the public, sets guidelines for an intermunicipal agreement with South Williamsport borough.

It is designed as a means of continuing to promote the public health, safety and welfare by saving taxpayer dollars while maximizing police coverage, the ordinance states.

The agreement is for five years. Costs related to personnel, vehicles and equipment are to be a part of the contract negotiation, Baker said.

Officers from both municipalities will have authority to provide services to each community.

Baker said she could speak on behalf of Steven W. Cappelli, South Williamsport borough manager, and the discussion ahead of the vote was a “win-win” for both communities.

A few audience members were surprised to see the decision of the intermunicipal agreement after the borough received a 285-signature petition from residents who did not want to see the borough police disbanded.

Instead, the ordinance gives those individuals assurance there will continue to be a certain level of service that taxpayers need, want, deserve and have come expect.

This way, the borough can put money in escrow and can build an account for the funding necessary, Baker noted.

Mayor Norman Cowden said he found out through a legal check that the ordinance was not able to be put on the ballot for a referendum, so he met Cappelli and told the neighboring community leader he would like to keep the DuBoistown Police intact.

“We wanted a fair shake,” Cowden said. “We were concerned the two didn’t have a job,” he said of the chief Norman Hager and another officer.

The borough is preparing to hold an executive session at its next regular meeting in December to discuss the contract verbiage.

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