The reformers are going around town saying that they want to increase the police force. Some are asking how it will be paid for if the budget is already strapped.
There are two full-time positions currently unfilled in the Borough. Until Bill Stewart pushed for the Civil Service Commission to hire police, there were four unfilled spots. Here’s how the other two police vacancies can be paid for without raising taxes.
Police Officer #1: two things to do now
- Continue paying a firm to handle the duties of Borough Manager, as opposed to hiring one person to do the job. This is something the RRPOE wants to do. In salary alone, the Borough saves $45,000 ANNUALLY. This does not include benefits plans (another $10,000-$20,000 saved) or pension matching.
- Implement a recycling program within the Borough to reduce tipping fees when trash is disposed off at the curb, something Dave Paterson talked about last year and Bill Stewart suggested to study with the intent to implement. Based on savings seen in surrounding communities (Ridley Park and Ridley Township), savings will be anywhere from 10-20% of the tipping fees. Eddystone’s fees last year were about $175,000, so the Borough saves $17,500-$35,000 ANNUALLY
So far, these two measures alone will shift $70,000-$80,000, based on a conservative estimate, of money already existing in the Budget. No services will be decreased.
These two changes alone will save enough money to pay the salary of one full-time police officer, and there might even be some money left over to apply to a second officer. Therefore, services to residents actually increase just by shifting money in the budget and not raising taxes one penny.
Police Officer #2: stop "double dipping" now
During most of the years Ralph Orr has been Mayor, we have paid 2 police chiefs at the same time. One has been on leave and the other has worked. In fact, during Orr’s time as Mayor, we have had 2 police chiefs more than half of the time (first Chief Rodden was on leave, then Chief Conner was on leave a few times;). Think about that money for one second. Assuming that 50% of the time (I think it is actually 7 of the 10 years, or 70% of the time but let’s go with 50% to avoid accusations of exaggeration) we have paid 2 police chiefs who each make approximately $80,000 annually. Combined over the past 10 years, we have paid about a half million dollars to a second police chief who was at home.
Let’s be clear: We are not accusing people of cheating the system. However, the fact that Ralph Orr had an issue with an “on leave” chief when he took office, and 10 years later is still dealing with the same problem (just a different face) doesn’t bode well for his leadership credentials.
If the Borough could hire a police chief, one that will be at work with his badge and gun everyday, then we could use the money we have been paying to a “chief on leave” to pay almost all of police officer #2’s salary.
the two vacant police spots currently existing on our force are filled without raising taxes one penny. These are two spots that Mayor Orr and President Pappas said, as recently as in December, could not be filled because there was no money in the budget. Apparently, they are still saying the same thing because people are emailing us asking questions about how the RRPOE could pay for more police. Our opinion is that no money in the budget is seen by Orr (and Pappas for that matter) because of a lack the creativity to find it, the lack of forward thinking to project it, and the lack of openness on how to spend it. We found the money in less than 24 hours after receiving a question about it.
If we could find the money in 24 hours, why hasn’t Orr, the leader of the police force, done it during the 10 years he has been in office?
Saying he wants to do something at election time does not erase the 10 years of inaction on the same topic.