The West Sadsbury Board of Supervisors and their police department has agreed on a new, three-year contract that took effect Jan. 1.
Included in the contract are pay raises: three percent for the first year and four percent for the last two years; and an increase from $250 to $300 towards insurance benefits.
The supervisors will also hire another full-time officer, who would join Sgt. Luke Fidler and Chief Jim Peters.
Peters, who assumed the chief's position last year, is off-probation and is officially the chief, the supervisors said.
And, Officer Courtenay Delaney, who was hired in 2003, was expected to be made full-time at the supervisors' meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 3.
"We're very satisfied with and very proud of our police," said Supervisor Don Markward, who serves as the board's liaison to the police department.
There are also five part-time officers and plans to purchase a new police vehicle with a state grant.
The supervisors agreed that the transition to Peters as chief from former Chief John Slauch, who resigned to take the chief's position in Oxford, was smooth because of the relationship the two shared. "Peters was already very hands-on with the paperwork," said Markward.
The supervisors said they felt blessed to have the caliber of employees that they do.
"He's an ex-state policeman, former chief of Oxford," noted Supervisor John Keesey of Peters. "He's no lightweight."
Supervisor Jim Landis added that now that township secretary Cindy Mammarella was working at the police department a couple of days a week they expected the flow of the paperwork between them and the department to go even smoother.
A major hurdle was accomplished this year with the designation of a Police District, which requires properties in the district to pay a higher tax towards police services. The main reason for the designation was the West Sadsbury Commons Shopping Center at Routes 10 and 30, owned by Wolfson-Verrichia of Plymouth Meeting. This year they paid $57,000.
"That will remain the same," said Landis.
Markward said the added tax was needed to cover the shortfall that was coming up due to increased police services and the money goes directly to the police department. The police department is the biggest chunk of the township's budget, he said.
The police department operates an estimated 16 hours a day. Coverage is up to Peters. "We give him a budget and he runs it as he sees fit," said Markward.
"All three of us are in touch with him," added Landis.
"We oversee everything," agreed Keesey, who added that he felt the relationship between the two entities was "superb."
When contacted Tuesday, Peters agreed there was a good working relationship between the supervisors and the police department, which is the reason the police association agreed to a three-year pact. Previously, the contracts had been one-year deals.
"They've been good to us," said Peters.
He said the police department was addressing the quality of life issues that has occurred with the growth the township has seen over the past few years, most recently the Home Depot that opened in the center last year, and that any emphasis on traffic issues - as has been praised regularly by the supervisors at meetings - were also a result of those quality of life issues and stemming from complaints of residents.