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W. Penn leaning toward not bringing on third full-time officer

It appears as if West Penn Township will not add a third full-time officer to its police department next year.

The township’s board of supervisors met at a budget workshop held Monday morning to discuss the 2018 spending plan.

As part of its budget discussion, supervisors revisited the possibility of hiring another full-time police officer.

Township police Chief Brian Johnson said he was in favor of adding a third full-timer.

“For me schedule-wise and commitment-wise, it would be a lot easier,” Johnson said. “The problem with part-timers is they come and go.”

However, Supervisor Tony Prudenti told Johnson he would rather just see the police department add more part-timers, while board Chairman Jim Dean said he also preferred two full-time officers. Supervisor Ted Bogosh said he would prefer three full-timers.

At last month’s budget workshop, Johnson said the cost to bring on a third full-time officer would be somewhere between $46,000 to $47,000 with salary and benefits.

Supervisors will hold their next budget workshop at 9 a.m. Nov. 20.

This year, residents saw no increase in their municipal property tax rates when the board passed the budget with a millage rate of 4.75 mills.

However, as part of that budget, the board agreed to increase the local service tax from $10 to $52, which only affected people who are employed in the township.

Raising the tax was expected to generate about an additional $23,000 for the township, supervisors said previously.

Prudenti said at that time the board was able to save $28,000 on benefits and insurance for police, as well as $17,000 by switching around insurances.