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Warminster: Still No Budget; No Word on Lay-offs

December 17, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments
Richard Poulson the attorney for the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association speaks to the board. (Tom Sofield)

Richard Poulson the attorney for the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association speaks to the board. (Tom Sofield)

At a jam packed meeting Thursday night the Warminster Board of Supervisors agreed to wait to vote on a final budget due to on-going negotiations with the township employee’s unions.

Supervisors announced that the next meeting, which will determine the towns final budget and how many employees could be laid-off, will be held on Tuesday December 28 which is three days before they are legally obligated by the state to have a balanced budget.

Warminster’s $23.7 million preliminary budget which was approved in early December called for a 4 mill tax increase that would raise taxes close to $130 and a workforce reduction of 17, eight were from the township’s police force.

Warminster police would lay-off eight officers and three more would retire which would mean 11 less police officers on the force.

Frank Feinberg, vice-chairman of the board who was close to the police unions negotiations with the township said that the township and police union had come to an agreement. Within minutes it was clear that the agreement was on shaky ground.

The police union and Warminster had reached some agreement on a two year wage freeze on officer salaries, no police lay-offs for two years, a one-year extension of the contract until 2014 said Fienberg.

Negotiations also yielded an agreement between police and the township where officers would contribute to their health care and pension plans.

Supervisor Ellen Jarvis thanked police for their concessions and then said that township employees including police but said the townships health plan was “Rolls-Royce with the driver type of plan.”

The towns supervisors still think more concessions can be made by the union to help save tax-payers money.

Richard Poulson the attorney for the Warminster Township Police Benevolent Association told the board that the townships health plan is a “car not a Rolls-Royce” and that if the department is cut public safety will suffer.

Poulson also told the board that the police union’s concessions will save the township $500,000 if not more over time.

Some members of the board did not agree with the savings figures, Supervisor Tom Panzer saying that the union was deferring the cost until a later year.

Fraternal Order of Police, Pennsylvania State Lodge President Les Neri who attended the meeting said, “You will directly impact public safety if you cut 20 percent of the department.”

“I am just one of the taxpayers and I’m concerned about safety,” Ann Fitzpatrick a 50 year resident of Warminster told the board and room of full of people, “I will take $100 out of my social security if it will help the police.”

“We need these guys,” another resident of Warminster said “if we need to raise taxes lets do it!”

The Warminster Board of Supervisors (Tom Sofield)

A member of the towns public works department pulled his unions concession agreement with the town citing prescription co-pays for his department’s employees were to high. Members of the board told him the plan was being misinterpreted by him and they would review the plan with him later.

The board vetoed the proposed concessions 3-2, people in the audience largely made up of police supporters whispers of “sham” and “ridiculous” were heard.

It’s disappointing we couldn’t resolve everything,” Warminster Police Chief Michael Murphy after the meeting.

“Thank you please keep trying,” said Marie Brzeninski of Warminster.

Tom Sofield (tsofield@buxmontnews.com)
Online Editor

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