Marlborough stopped patrolling borough Dec. 31
Green Lane officials said Monday the borough will no longer be patrolled by Marlborough Police Department; instead, state police will now cover the municipality of 511 residents and approximately 20 businesses.
The contract between Marlborough, Green Lane and Marlborough Police was up Dec. 31 and, according to Marlborough Supervisors Chair Joan Smith, contract negotiations with Green Lane ultimately led to the borough dropping local police coverage.
Smith said on Nov. 30, Green Lane Borough Council President Brian Carpenter and Mayor Lynn Wolfe met with Marlborough officials, asking about possible part-time coverage from Marlborough Police.
Carpenter and Wolfe reportedly cited financial reasons that the borough could no longer to afford to pay for full-time coverage at the rate Marlborough was asking them to pay.
But police said they would be unable to discern between types of calls to offer part-time service. They were either dispatched to cover Green Lane or state police was, no matter if the call was for an assault in progress or a week-old vandalism.
In 2012, Green Lane paid $37,044; approximately 11 percent of the total police budget of $331,518. Marlborough asked Green Lane to pay 5 percent more for 2013, totaling approximately $39,000.
“The fact was there was no way we could give them part-time coverage,” Smith said Monday. “And they made an offer that was very low [for full-time coverage]. I took it to our board but they didn’t agree…It has nothing to do with Green Lane; we have a friendly arrangement. The bottom line is it was purely financial. Marlborough residents were subsidizing their residents’ coverage.”
According to police call statistics, for January through November 2012, Marlborough Police responded to 77.15 percent of calls in Marlborough and 22.85 percent in Green Lane. Those numbers did not include property checks, according to Marlborough Township manager Ellie Sadorf.
Smith noted Marlborough had its own financial issues, and after receiving a verbal offer of $28,000 for police coverage from Carpenter, she said Marlborough officials sent a letter dated Dec. 21 stating, among other things, that “Marlborough couldn’t afford to support the police anymore.”
According to Smith, Marlborough didn’t hear anything else from Green Lane officials until after borough council passed its 2013 budget, including $28,000 for police coverage from Marlborough.
But Green Lane Mayor Lynn Wolfe said Monday negotiations with Marlborough were too little, too late.
“Negotiations should have started in early fall,” she noted. “When we met with them looking for police coverage at a cost we could afford, they had already made their decision. The negotiations were ‘this is the way it is.’
“We have great coverage with Marlborough. It’s not the police department at all,” she said, ultimately noting Green Lane officials felt it wasn’t a time they could justify raising taxes.
She said she didn’t feel public safety would be compromised by the change in police coverage.
Multiple attempts to reach Brian Carpenter for comment were unsuccessful as of press time.
Green Lane has relied on state police coverage in the past, including from approximately 1990 until 1999, when they again signed up for Marlborough police coverage, reportedly discouraged by state police patrols.
In 2003, Green Lane again mulled dropping local police coverage in lieu of a 10 percent increase for protection. They ultimately agreed to that increase and kept Marlborough coverage until 2013.