With the city's police coverage within Fell Township starting this week, some questions about the arrangement were raised at City Council's meeting on Monday night, Dec. 16.
Mayor Justin Taylor told council that a one-year agreement had been reached by both sides, although he said the city was still awaiting delivery of the signed copies of the contract from Fell Twp. officials at that time.
Under the terms of the agreement, police service in the township began Jan. 1 and includes six specific areas of coverage — traffic, parking, patrols, nuisance issues, 911 calls, and court appearances. The cost to Fell Twp. is $75,000 for the year.
Councilman Gerald Arnese asked if city police will be patrolling the township every day.
"We'll be covering there every day," Taylor replied, so this will not necessarily entail daily patrols but will involve responding on a daily basis to any police calls that come in from the township.
Arnese said he remains concerned about situations in which three officers are on duty in Carbondale and there's a call from Fell Twp. which leaves the city short-handed.
Taylor responded that the city does have contingency plans in place and will rely on other local police departments through its Mutual Aid agreements for back-up if needed in such cases.
"We're going to be mindful about that," he offered.
Taylor envisions the one-year agreement with Fell Twp. as the foundation for a long-term partnership in which the city provides police coverage to the township for many years to come. He also sees this as a pilot program which will allow the city to offer the same service to other local communities in the coming years, generating enough revenues over time to bolster Carbondale's own police force in the process.
Councilman John Gigliotti stated that, with those goals in mind, it helps to have a one-year contract to start things out. That way, he noted, the city will be able to collect all of the pertinent information regarding costs, manpower, etc., and enter into future contracts with all of the relevant numbers right at hand.
"It'll be data-driven," he explained of the future of the police service program that the city hopes to implement.
In another matter at the meeting, Councilman Dr. Joseph Marzzacco asked how much time people have under the city's ordinance to shovel their walkways after a snow storm hits.
"They have 24 hours from the time the storm ends," Taylor replied.
Marzzacco said there are a number of spots downtown that aren't shoveled at all after storms and he asked if any action is being taken.
"I wouldn't mind if we gave them 48 hours [after a storm] to do it," Marzzacco noted, "but these aren't done at all."
Page 2 of 2 - Chris Pezak, the city's code enforcement officer, stated that he noticed the same unshoveled walkways and he said he would be following up.