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Perkasie Borough gives police 12% raise and swears in new chief

By Tom De Martini, WFMZ.com Reporter, news@wfmz.com
Published On: Dec 16 2013 09:19:23 PM CST
PERKASIE BOROUGH, Pa. -

Perkasie Police will receive a 12 percent pay increase over three years under the terms of a contract approved by Borough Council Monday night.

The three-year pact, spanning 2014 through 2016, increases police pay by 4 percent per year. The pact also hikes the health care premium of the borough's 14-person force by 1 percent in each year of the contract.

The Perkasie Borough Police Department serves residents of Perkasie and Sellersville boroughs.

In other business, borough council officially swore in Steven Hillias as chief of police. Hillias has been serving as the borough's interim top cop since February, following the retirement of former Police Chief Joseph Gura. Hillias was hired by borough council on Nov. 4.

"Thank you to the council, thank you to Sellersville and to the police department. I appreciate the support and the trust. I'll be leaning on all of you," Hillias said.

Elsewhere, borough council approved its $18.566 million 2014 operating budget, which represents a $261,000 increase over 2013 and features no property tax increase for residents.

Real estate millage remains at 5.75 mills. A total of 4.75 mills of the levy is earmarked for the general fund and 1 mill is pegged for the borough's fire department. A homeowner with a property assessed at $100,000 will continue to pay $575 a year in borough property taxes.

The 2014 budget allows for a 3.5 percent pay raise for non-union/non-uniform employees and a 2 percent salary increase for the borough's 13 administrative workers. 

Borough Council also passed a resolution lowering electric rates by 1 percent, which will save a Perkasie Borough resident an average of $1.77 per month, or just more than $21 per year.

Perkasie Borough is excluded, along with other Pennsylvania municipally-operated electric utilities, from electric deregulation as provided through state law.

As a result, so long as Perkasie Borough doesn't serve customers outside its jurisdiction, all electric users living within borough limits must use Perkasie Borough Electric as their electric supply company.

Electric rates in the borough have steeply increased in recent years, causing consternation from residents and a concerted effort by council members to lower costs.

"It's a step, albeit a minor step in the right direction," said council president Matt Aigeldinger.

"(The reduction) will return more than $100,000 to residents of Perkasie, so that's not insignificant," said councilman John Ryder.

Council also bid farewell to retiring Borough Manager Daniel Olpere and named assistant Borough Manager Andrea Coaxum as his interim replacement.