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Southwestern Regional board eyes deal with North Codorus, Manheim townships

Southwestern Regional Police board member Matt Bollinger speaks during a special meeting at the police department Tuesday, April 23, 2019. The meeting was called to address the police chief's resignation and North Codorus Township's decision to leave the department by the end of the year. Bill Kalina photo

Southwestern Regional Police Board members are now exploring the idea of having North Codorus Township stay with the department — but as a contracted, rather than member, municipality.

During a special police board meeting Tuesday, April 23, Rodney Shearer, a North Codorus Township supervisor who serves on the board, suggested looking into contracting hours to the township.

As a contracted municipality, North Codorus Township would not have any voting members on the police board, the governing entity of the department made up of representatives from each member municipality.

“You’re pretty much taking the politics out of it," said Matt Bollinger, a Heidelberg Township supervisor who serves as chairman of the police board.

Larry Miller, a Manheim Township supervisor and police board member, also suggested the board present a proposal for contracted services to Manheim Township.

Miller noted the township has not expressed interest in withdrawing, but with Spring Grove and Heidelberg Township committed to saving the department, it would be easier.

The department would get a lump sum from Manheim and North Codorus townships for service, and the other municipal representatives could work with that, according to Miller.

“We’re trying to make things clearer and make things smoother, and that seems to me like that would," he said.

He also said Manheim Township could use fewer hours, and could do so through contracted services.

"It works out for everyone," he said.

The board unanimously approved a motion to draft proposals for contracted services for both municipalities. 

“Things are going to move along as speedy as possible," Bollinger told a crowd of roughly 50 people who attended Tuesday's meeting.

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Contracted services: Shearer said the department presented a proposal for contracted services to neighboring Codorus Township, and so that could be used as a template. 

In October, North Codorus Township officials, citing rising costs among other things, sent a letter of intent to withdraw from the department by the end of 2019.

The township pays about $1 million a year for police services, or roughly half the department's budget.

The township has received two proposals for alternative police services: a three-year contract with Northern York County Regional Police at $744,000 per year and a 10-year contract with West Manchester Township Police at $825,000 per year, with a $200,000 buy-in.

Northern Regional Police offered 170 hours a week. West Manchester Township Police did not provide a weekly estimate.

With those options on the table, the township is hoping to make a decision by June or July, according to Shearer.

Fee: Shearer said he hopes the police board would have a draft contract by its May 8 meeting so he can present it during the township supervisors' meeting the following week.

Shearer also noted the proposed contract with Codorus Township would allow that township to leave the department with two years' notice without penalty. 

Should North Codorus Township leave, police board solicitor Walter Tilley has estimated the township would have to pay about $1 million to the department. 

Shearer, who has said township officials estimate the fee to be lower, said he hopes the board waives the fee under the contracted services proposal.

During North Codorus Township's last meeting, and the previous police board meeting, Shearer said he was going to share some other reasons why the township wants to leave the department.

However, on Tuesday he said he decided not to share that information.

"It just doesn't help to stir things up," he said.

The police board meets again 7 p.m. May 8 at the police station at 6115 Thoman Drive in Heidelberg Township.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.