For the second time in just as many years, Glen Rock council members will solicit information about police service from its residents.
The council is weighing its options on how best the borough will be served -- by sticking with the Southern Regional Police Department or by leaving it.
Police costs are behind the borough considering leaving the department. A tax increase is inevitable for 2013, but council members could drop out of the regional department come 2014 to stave off future increases.
"If we continue with (full-time) police service, we have to raise taxes," said council president Richard Shiles.
The town hall meeting will be held before the council meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 14.
Shiles said the town hall meeting will last 90 minutes or longer depending on how well the dialogue is running.
"We just want to take the townspeople's input," said Lucy Cadwallader, council vice president. "We need to get people informed of this."
Options: Council members have three options when it comes to police service to the borough.
The borough could opt to stay with Southern Regional as a full-time member, contract a set number of hours from the department or drop the department entirely and rely on state police for service.
But if the borough drops to contract hours, it would lose its voting powers on the police commission. Only municipalities that pay for full-time coverage have voting privileges.
If the borough does pull out as a full-time member at the end of 2013, the borough would have to notify the police commission at the end of this year. The commission requires a year notice before any full-time member withdraws, Shiles said.
Glen Rock would also lose the share of equity it has in the department.
Costs: Glen Rock, which joined Southern Regional about 10 years ago, currently pays about $238,000 for police service, but that rate will increase in 2013, Shiles said.
"Now what they're doing, they want to raise our rates $10,000 to $13,000," he said.
Funding for police accounts for between 42 percent and 45 percent of the borough's roughly $786,000 current budget.
Last year the council raised taxes by 0.15 mills to 2.95 mills, partly because of increasing police costs coupled with decreased tax revenue. Taxes could go up again this year, but it's not clear by how much, Shiles said.
Residents could expect to see taxes rise with the police costs should they increase next year.
"If we continue police service, we have to raise taxes," Shiles said. "It would have to be a significant raise."
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you go:
The Glen Rock town hall meeting during which the council will receive input from residents on police service will be held at the Glen Rock EMS building, 59 Water St. starting at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 14.