Seven Fields awaits answer on request
October 29, 2012
SEVEN FIELDS — Borough manager Tom Smith said Monday night that he and borough officials anticipate Cranberry Township will reject their request for an early end to their police services agreement. Speaking at a council meeting, Smith said he’s still reserved $50,000 in the 2013 budget for the potential creation of a regional police force with Evans City. But the prospects of such a police force are becoming less likely in the face of resistance from Cranberry officials, who are reluctant to give up more than $700,000 over the next several years if Cranberry releases Seven Fields early from its contract. The township’s supervisors three weeks ago tabled the police services issue, saying they have questions and concerns that needed to be addressed before acting. But Smith said Monday night that he has yet to receive any concerns and that the township is more motivated by financial factors than other issues. Regardless, the two sides will meet Nov. 14 to discuss the matter. Smith said at that time he’ll ask for a final answer from Cranberry by the end of November. “I believe we have all indications that they will not allow early termination,” he said. Cranberry manager Jerry Andree said the bottom line concerning the police services agreement is that the two municipalities have a contract. “In order for anyone to cancel a contract early, they need to convince the other party why they should agree to cancel it,” Andree said. “We’re very anxious to hear why they think we should cancel it.” The current contract between the municipalities runs through 2014 with a two-year option beyond that. Seven Fields had sought to enter into a new agreement with Evans City before the start of 2013. Seven Fields is expected to pay Cranberry $337,074 this year for police coverage, and that amount is expected to climb to nearly $397,537 by 2016. At a hearing in September to solicit input from borough residents, Smith said Seven Fields would save about $90,000 next year if it contracted with Evans City instead of Cranberry. Officials in Evans City also are awaiting a final decision on the potential merger, although Smith said they too don’t expect the plan to come to fruition. “They obviously are very disappointed,” he said. Cranberry and Seven Fields have contracted for police services since 1993.