It comes out to less than $22 for every man, woman and child in the borough of Green Lane; that’s the difference ($11,000) between what Marlborough Township wanted ($39,000) and what Green Lane was willing to pay ($28,000) for local police coverage.
Now early in January, Marlborough faces a $39,000 shortfall in their 2013 budget and the Pennsylvania State Police will provide police services to the residents of Green Lane.
To be sure, the Marlborough Police Department is staffed by capable professionals who provide a valuable, and sometimes dangerous, service; likewise for the Pennsylvania State Police. The exceptional service of all of our area police and state police departments in protecting the public and enforcing the laws is invaluable and sometimes overlooked by those that they serve.
One would think that the amount of $11,000 is something that Marlborough and Green Lane officials could have sat down and negotiated to a satisfactory conclusion. But, in these days of email, litigious mentalities and busy schedules, many have lost the will, or desire, to go the extra mile and sit down with neighbors to hammer out deals that would benefit those they were elected to serve.
Both sides have valid arguments; that’s when the ability to communicate as an official becomes the most important tool in a negotiator’s toolbox. A price should never be raised or lowered without notifying the other party, in a timely manner, of your intentions. That’s water over the bridge – but it’s not too late.
If the residents of Green Lane are satisfied with the decision made by their officials, there is nothing else to do and the borough can bank the $28,000 they planned to spend on police this year.
If Marlborough residents are satisfied with the $39,000 shortfall, then there is nothing else to do and officials can adjust funding from other areas as the year wears on. If residents in either case do not agree, they need to let their officials know – in a civilized manner. Then, for the good of both municipalities, officials need to meet face-to-face and work out an agreement. Lay both arguments out on the table along with the facts and figures to support your position. There’s always a chance that something was overlooked or misunderstood.
Green Lane has only 511 residents and not many tax dollars. But there can be other ways to be creative in bartering for your side of an agreement.
When municipalities work together there can be advantages. Working together to solve the problem could be as simple as agreeing to perform similar municipal projects at the same time to cut costs or taking on a task in lieu of payment. Purchasing other services from the township that are outsourced by the borough at a higher price might be an option. Scarce county, state and other funding available for projects is favored when more than one municipality is applying as partners. Seek out other ways to partner; not just now but for future projects as well.
Partnerships sometimes mean sacrifice and compromise. Look for ways to make it work.