Past-due bills for sewer and garbage total about $189,000 in Rush Township, and supervisors plan to crack down on the delinquents.

"I have the numbers here," Chairman Shawn Gilbert said during a meeting Thursday. "It's scary."

Gilbert said that delinquent bills for customers on the Hometown sewer system (where quarterly bills are $140) total $113,134 and $12,559 on the Lake Hauto sewer system, where quarterly bills are $172.

Past-due garbage bills total $63,000. He said that in the spring, the township will shut off water for delinquent sewer customers. Township solicitor Chris Riedlinger said the township has a right to take such action. The township will also get more aggressive with garbage bill collections.

In other action, as discussed last month, Gilbert and Vice-chairman Robert Leibensperger voted to reduce the township's three-person police force by one full-time officer. Supervisor Jeanine Motroni voted against the measure. The township will keep Sgt. Duane Frederick. Supervisors will announce at their January reorganizational meeting whether they're keeping Officer Corey Herring or Officer Adam Sinton. Sinton was present at the meeting.

In related actions, the supervisors put the Chester County law firm of Siana, Bellwoar & McAndrew on retainer. The law firm specializes in municipal and labor law, and civil litigation. The board also decided that part-time officers will be able to work no more than two shifts per week, with the officers paid a rate of $15 per hour.

The township had two full-time secretaries until last month, when the supervisors voted to change one secretarial position from full-time to part-time, twenty hours per week. During the meeting Thursday, the supervisors accepted a resignation letter from that secretary, Chris Rubright, and will advertise for a part-time secretary.

The supervisors purchased security cameras which will cover the outside of the municipal building and parking area. The system cost $6,600 and was purchased from DataCom, Allentown. Earlier this month, catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles parked at Seitz Brothers, Hunter Street, which is about two blocks from the municipal building.

The supervisors responded to a letter of complaint from Barry Messerschmidt, Hometown Fire Company. Last week, Code Enforcement Officer Bill McMullin had told the fire company to remove a portable illuminated sign from the front of the building. Such signs are prohibited according to the Rush Township zoning ordinances.

However, the supervisors explained to Messerschmidt that the fire company could seek a special exception from the township's zoning hearing board to allow the sign. The supervisors voted to waive the $500 fee for a zoning hearing, since it's a request from the township's volunteer fire department. The matter should be scheduled in January.