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Police service nixed

Published May 03. 2010 05:00PM

After residents of Parryville had their say, council knew exactly how to vote when it came to continuing to partner for police protection with Weissport.

The vote was three to one against continuing with the joint regional police department with Weissport. Weissport noted it would continue offering police services for a fee.

Michael Grant, council president, said after hearing the residents speak that costs would be about $30 an hour for Weissport police to patrol about 20 hours a month, plus another $14 for police to attend court sessions at the magistrate or about $7,800 a year. He said police would be utilized to control speeding, parking issues and to enforce borough ordinances.

Grant said that one mill equals about $10,000, which would cover the cost for the regional police services.

Before announcing the costs, Grant had offered the floor to anyone who wanted to speak. Of the 19 residents attending the session, eight people spoke against raising taxes to continue the police service.

"I can't see having police service for something we don't need," said Joan Blose.

Greg Duschek said he was against the service. He said that he was robbed on a Saturday night and knew the name of the person who had robbed him by Sunday, but Weissport police were not on duty until Wednesday.

Duschek said that if he could have worked with state police he might have gotten some of his items back, but since Weissport was on duty, he had no choice but to try to work with Weissport. He said Weissport police never returned phone calls and he was never able to get any of his items back.

Leonard Van Horn noted that neighbors in Parryville watch each other's property.

"Why pay for something we get for free from state police," said Van Horn. "We don't need police because we have a low crime rate."

Kimberly Frey said she did not want to see her taxes raised.

"How am I supposed to save money for my children to go to college if they raise taxes for police?" asked Frey.

Mary Scherer also said she did not want to see taxes raised.

Grant said that before the meeting, he spoke to some people who wanted the police protection, but those people chose not to come to the meeting.

Parryville Mayor Dean Emery said that Parryville learned a lot from having police services.

"Some of our residents really liked the coverage," he said. "But in light of everything right now, we think that it would be best to discontinue the services. Weissport needs to get established better."

Blose also asked council if they were going to resolve the parking issue. Blose said she is waiting three years for a handicapped parking space.

Grant said that the issue is more complicated that it appears. He said that he cannot designate a handicapped parking space for Blose in front of a neighbor's home without their consent.

"That is why we're trying to solve the parking issue so that it will take care of the entire town," said Grant.

Grant said that council is nearing the point when it will purchase signs.

Grant said that Riverwalck's parking issues complicated the parking issues in Parryville.

"Riverwalck is using some of the overflow parking at the playground and we still don't know how to resolve that," said Grant. "We're deciding whether to offer parking permits to the people in the area or to all residents."

Grant briefly discussed complaints about Riverwalck's loud music and burning.

Grant said that council will research the ordinances to see if there is anything that regulates outdoor burning in the borough.

Kathy Wolter, a member of the Parryville Planning Commission, said that LKQ wants to hook into municipal water and sewage and that as a member of the planning commission, she strongly urges council to approve LKQ's request. LKQ is the present owner of Thruway Auto.

Council approved LKQ's request, which allows them to contact Franklin Township and Lehighton Water for consideration for the municipal services.

Wolter also noted that the planning commission is in the planning stages of updating the borough ordinances, but needs input from some professionals and residents. She asked if there were funds to pay professionals, and was advised by Grant that there were.

Council also approved spending $1,200 to purchase picnic tables and to repair benches.

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