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South Whitehall to partner with Upper Macungie for new emergency command post vehicle

Published On: Sep 05 2013 12:13:26 AM EDT

What's it called when you spend a lot of money on something you don't really want and hope you never use? If you are the South Whitehall Township Board of Commissioners the answer is an emergency command post vehicle.

And the legislative body voted 4-0 Wednesday night to allocate $46,250 per year for the next four years in partnership with neighboring Upper Macungie Township to purchase the high-tech vehicle equipped with the latest technologies for use in extreme emergencies such as weather disasters, large-scale fires  and the like where a centralized and coordinated response is required. Commissioner Glenn Block was absent.

The cost of the vehicle will be split between the two townships,a Department of Community and Economic Development grant and officials indicated Wednesday night that they will pursue corporate funding as well for the vehicle, according to township representative Jeff Kelly.

President Christina Morgan noted that the vehicle presents "unique opportunities to work with a neighboring township." And the two townships share more than geography in common. They share almost identical populations, according to a brief presentation Wednesday night, with South Whitehall Township serving as the home to more than 19,000 people, with 20,000 people living in Upper Macungie Township. More than 15,000 people work in South Whitehall Township, while more than 17,000 people work in Upper Macungie.

"In my opinion this is the best money we could spend," noted Commissioner Thomas Johns.

Township Manager Jon Hammer indicated the township could issue a RFP as soon as next week to secure bids on financing.