Two young Parkesburg, Chester County, residents on Nov. 14 asked Parkesburg Borough Council to consider redirecting some of the police department’s budget to other budgets they say are underfunded.
Their request during the remote Zoom meeting came as Borough Council unanimously approved a proposed preliminary $3.6 million 2021 budget with no tax increase. The proposed budget, up $509,031 over the 2020 spending plan, is available for view at Borough Hall.
John Beecher said he is not suggesting the police department be abolished, but said Parkesburg is not a high crime area and its police department is “over financed.” He suggested council instead invest more money in recreation, the library, the new train station and improving the quality of life in Parkesburg.
Ben Mellema, who was a public works department employee, also spoke, saying the department is understaffed and in need of more efficient equipment.
Comments from two borough officials, however, indicate the police department is unlikely to see a funding decrease before the final budget is adopted.
Mayor John P. Hagan II said there can be no quality of life if people don’t feel safe, and said he would give the police department more funding. Parkesburg has budgeted $956,825 for the police department for 2021, down $64,549 from 2020. The department also provides contracted coverage to Highland Township.
Council member Dave Mellema said Parkesburg police keep drug activity to a minimum, and if the borough cuts police staff, drug activity and violent crime could “skyrocket.”
In other business, council appointed Joseph Reali, the borough’s code enforcement officer for the past five years, as both interim business manager and zoning officer following the Nov. 6 departure of Neil Vaughn. Reali has been a borough resident for 33 years.
On the recommendation of John Carnes, borough solicitor, council also approved a two-year extension for Lindale Village, a proposed 31-lot subdivision of modular homes for people ages 55 and older, on 7 acres on Beale Driver. Dave Mattioni, one of the property owners, said the property is being sold and the new buyers would like a two-year extension to Feb. 26, 2023 to finalize subdivision plans.
Although council members say they would like to contract out trash disposal, they unanimously voted down a $392,370 bid from Eagle Disposal, saying the figure is too expensive.