At odds over additional police service hours Red Lion could be billed for, borough officials are contemplating withdrawing from the York Area Regional Police Department.
Since 2012, when the borough inked a new contract with the department, police hours to the borough rose to 850 hours over the coverage it pays for in a little over a year, said Dianne Price, the borough manager.
During a police commission meeting Thursday, Price said the borough fears it could be billed for those added hours, adding to the $554,000 cost it pays for service annually.
Chief Tom Gross said after the meeting that commission members have discussed whether the borough should be charged for the added hours but have not yet reached a decision.
"We have to find some way to deal with this because we can't hand out a blank check," Price told commission members.
Added hours: Gross said the added hours racked up since 2012 is the result of the reduction in hours the then-new contract called for.
That year, Red Lion officials opted for a 37.5 percent decrease in service from the department in order to avert a tax increase. The borough receives 150 hours of weekly police coverage, down from 240 hours.
The borough ended the previous contract 160 hours under what it paid for but was not refunded for it, Price said.
Now nearly a year and four months into the new contract, service hours are 850 hours over what the borough has paid for.
Nearby Felton is 220 hours over, Price said, adding that if Red Lion is billed, Felton should be, too.
In an effort to curb hours, Price said she'd like to see police respond only to 911 calls and decrease patrols.
Commissioners said they are looking to work with the borough in cutting down hours.
"I think if we can resolve that issue,
we'll be OK," Price said.
Anticipating a coming bill for the extra hours, borough officials in December sent a letter to the commission stating the borough plans to withdraw from the department at the end of this year.
However, the borough is in the second year of a three-year contract, and the commission's solicitor contends the borough can't withdraw until the contract is up, said Chairman Paul Smith.
Price said the borough's solicitor advised the officials that the borough can withdraw at any time after giving a notice one year in advance.
Since the letter was sent, the borough has not contacted other departments for service costs, she said.
During the meeting, two Red Lion business owners said they don't want the borough to pull out of the department.
Nevin Horne, owner of Horne's Body & Fender Shop, said he understands the borough can afford only so much for police, but added he'd like to see something worked out so the department can continue to cover the borough.
"I'd like to see the police department remain in Red Lion," said Vincent Caltagirone, owner of Golden Crust Pizza. "Who's going to come and help us?"
-- Reach Greg Gross at firstname.lastname@example.org.