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Pennsburg Council proposes tax increase to fund police dept

By Will Lewis, Reporter, WLewis@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 04 2012 06:00:00 PM CST
Updated On: Dec 05 2012 06:36:57 AM CST

Residents upset over police cuts in Upper Perk

PENNSBURG, Pa. -

People in Pennsburg, Montgomery County say crime in their community is going to go up and they don't feel safe.

Last week, two full-time police officers and a part time officer from the Upper Perkiomen police district were laid off because of budget issues.

But now a possible solution is on the table.

The two officers have been out of a job already for a week.

People say they've noticed a loss in police presence. In fact there are no Upper Perkiomen police officers on duty covering Pennsburg and East Greenville boroughs from 1 a.m. until 7 a.m.

Close to 200 people filled the Pennsburg Borough civic building to urge the Pennsburg borough council to bring back laid off police officers.

"We need our cops," said Angela Walker, an East Greenville borough resident. "Without our cops we are in a lot of trouble. We have enough crime in this area to begin with. Without our cops and enough force to keep it under control, things are going to go nuts."

"It's for protection of our home," added Rich Freer from Pennsburg borough. "It's for protection of the citizens. That's what it's about."

The two officers were laid off last week after a police commission meeting.  Members made the cuts in order to balance the budget.

"Think about what you've done," said one member in the crowd. "I think you need to rethink your situation. Thank you."

Now Pennsburg Borough council is looking for $71,000 to re-hire the officers.

By a unanimous vote council members agreed to a proposed .25 mil tax increase.

A home valued at $125,000 will see a tax increase of $31.25 if passed.

There will also be cuts to money allotted for the borough savings account, the road construction account and the repairs and renovations account.

Because of the proposed tax increase a new public hearing has to be advertised.

The meeting for final budget approval will be on December 18.

Also, while no Upper Perkiomen officer is on duty from 1 a.m. to 7 a.m., Pennsylvania State Police does fill in during that time.