Arbitration between Police and Cumru Township Will Cost Taxpayers $100,000
Monday, December, 15, 2014
As local police refuse to accept a pay cut that the county insists reflects the economic reality of the township, an arbitration hearing has been scheduled. This has upset many citizens, as the cost of the arbitration must be carried by the town, and will ultimately cost about $100,000 in taxpayer dollars.
The township claims that declining tax assessments and overall tax base has left the town’s budget in deficit, with large bills still to come. As a result, taxes get raised and budgets get cut, and the town asked the police union to accept an overall pay cut to help deal with the fiscal crisis. The police, however, refused to consider a cut, and point out they have done their part by accepting that two terminated officer positions would not be filled in order to save the town the cost of their compensation and benefits.
The police department accounts for 60% of the overall budget in Cumru. This is actually quite high when compared to other townships in Pennsylvania. The police are not unwilling to negotiate, and have offered to make other concessions that don’t involve lowering actual wages, with the most flexibility being discussed in terms of health care costs. Cumru is on pace to be liable for a large amount of health care costs often described as the “Cadillac Tax” and the police have been willing to discuss increasing their contributions towards their own health care. The key sticking point is their refusal to consider lower overall wages.