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FARRELL Mayor suggests extra tax to buy regional police cars



Published: Wed, May 9, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



The police agency has had a tough time finding money in its budget for annual cruiser purchases.

By HAROLD GWIN

VINDICATOR SHARON BUREAU

FARRELL, Pa.-- A member of the Southwest Mercer County Regional Police Commission says the agency's member municipalities should enact a tax to cover the annual purchase of two new cruisers.

Mayor Thomas Stanton of Wheatland, one of three municipalities that make up the police commission, made the proposal at a meeting Tuesday.

The police agency is trying to buy two new cruisers every year to keep its fleet of seven marked vehicles on the road. But it has had a difficult time getting the money out of its operating budget.

Stanton said he thinks people will support a property tax earmarked exclusively for the cruisers.

Hearty support: Other commission members backed the suggestion.

"It could be like a user's fee," said Mayor William Morocco of Farrell.

"I think that is an excellent suggestion," said James DeCapua, commission chairman, adding that the issue could be addressed closer to budget time near the end of the year.

The municipal councils of Farrell, Wheatland and West Middlesex would have to agree to enact the tax.

DeCapua said he will work up figures to show how much of a tax increase each municipality would need to generate revenue to buy two cruisers forabout $44,000 a year.

Police patrols: The commission also discussed having its officers make more of a public appearance in the three municipalities.

DeCapua said there have been some complaints from residents who say they seldom see a cruiser in their neighborhoods.

DeCapua proposed, and the commission backed with a unanimous vote, a plan to require patrol officers to travel every street in their patrol zones every day.

The commission left it to its chief, Joseph Timko, to determine if the requirement will be enforced on a daily basis or on an eight-hour shift basis.

DeCapua said he wants people to know that they have police coverage and that the patrols will be made at slow speed.

Stanton suggested that the patrol officers make more of an effort to be friendly with the people they serve.

That will pay off when police need help solving a crime, he said.

gwin@vindy.co m




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