Maintaining or improving services while controlling costs is the study target.
By HAROLD GWIN
VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU
SHARPSVILLE, Pa. -- The borough is already involved in one government study that could lead to the consolidation of five Shenango Valley municipalities, but it's willing to look at merging its police department with yet another neighbor.
Borough council approved a letter of intent Wednesday calling for a feasibility study on the possible merger of the Sharpsville and South Pymatuning Township police departments.
The township supervisors took the same action earlier in the week.
Mayor Kenneth Robertson of Sharpsville said the two municipalities will ask the Governor's Center for Local Government Services for funding to help do the study. He did not have a cost estimate.
He said it will be conducted simultaneously with the broader consolidation study that could result in a consolidation of Sharpsville, Sharon, Hermitage, Farrell and Wheatland.
Working together: Robertson said the Sharpsville and South Pymatuning police departments already work closely together and they share some manpower.
Two of Sharpsville's full-time officers work as part-time officers in the township, while at least one township part-timer works part time in Sharpsville.
The borough has six full-time officers and five part-time patrolmen. The township has one full-time officer and seven part-timers.
The two municipalities are spending a total of about $660,000 on police services annually, and costs are rising.
There are already two consolidated police departments in Mercer County.
The Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Department serves Farrell, Wheatland and West Middlesex, and Jefferson-Clark Police department serves Clark Borough and Jefferson Township.
Sharpsville and South Pymatuning took a look at consolidating their police departments eight years ago.
This time, there will be an effort to keep everyone informed of what is being discussed, Robertson said.
Borough council also voted to have Mourice Waltz Planners and Associates of Sharpsville help prepare applications for state financial assistance for the study.