Letter to Editor re: Porter Township
I read with dismay that Porter Township is considering dropping out of the Tiadaghton Valley Regional Police Service. The stated reason is that more money is needed for road maintenance. It’s hard to know, as a township resident and taxpayer, exactly what the status is of the finances of Porter Township. They are clothed in secrecy, and the current supervisors have been opaque in many of their dealings with their constituents. One example is the time of the meetings, which is during the day, when many people who work cannot attend. This accommodation was made several years ago when one of the supervisors took a 2nd shift job. Not only was that accommodation not in the best interests of the residents and taxpayers in the township, but he is no longer a supervisor. However, the meetings remain at a time inconvenient for taxpayers, but convenient for supervisors who do not really want the public to know what they are doing. A supervisor was replaced within the past 12 months. The rules say the township has 30 days to replace the supervisor. They took 90 days, ostensibly because they ‘refused to accept’ the resignation, but probably because they were hand picking an agreeable person. They DID not advertise the position, despite the fact that of the 1610 residents (2010 census) in the township, surely ONE of them might have been qualified and interested. This decision, to consider dropping out of the police consortium, was made without any input from taxpayers and residents of the township—business as usual for these supervisors.
As a resident and taxpayer, I do wonder where the money goes! The millage in our township is 5.983. This is much higher than any other of the townships surrounding the Borough of Jersey Shore. In addition to this, the township receives liquid fuel funds which are earmarked for highway maintenance. They also receive Act 13 money, which is impact fees from the natural gas industry. Cummings Township, for example, has used some of their impact money to effectively reduce the township millage to zero. The published news story indicated that neighboring townships pay less towards police protection. Porter Township has 1601 residents, 173 (more than 10% of which are over 65, and presumably not interested in waiting half an hour for the state police to arrive) The millage is 5.9830 mills. Piatt Township has 1109 residents, and the millage is 1.1760; the population of Nippenose Township is 785, and their millage is 2.000. If a more equitable distribution of the costs of a regional police force needs to be developed, surely that can be done, based on population and overall costs. In their usual opaque manner, the township has not said anything about how they would spend the money NOT being spent on police protection, other than to say that the roads need more work. Of course, being typical politicians, no mention was made of actually reducing taxes! Well, Governor Wolf is proposing that townships in Pennsylvania who use state police, as opposed to having their own police force, pay their ‘fair share’ towards the cost of using state police. So, residents and taxpayers in Porter Township may soon face even MORE taxes without ANY police protection. This includes the high school. As a resident of the River Road, I am grateful for the police presence when school starts, because they stop and ticket the rod rodders who want to race out the River Road, and up Shaffer Hill. Does anyone seriously think that without a local police presence, these idiots will slow down? Isn’t the safety of the residents of the township at least as important as the roads?
It’s time for our supervisors to remember that they are supposed to serve the public who elected them! We need transparency from our elected supervisors—or maybe it’s time to elect some new supervisors!
Resident and Taxpayer in Porter Township