Sharon Goss wants to know who all is going to be paying for police in Pennsylvania.
Since proposals have been raised to have municipalities like Philipsburg without their own police departments pay a $25 per capita fee to Pennsylvania for use of the state police, questions have swirled about how that’s going to play out.
Goss, a Philipsburg Borough Council member, asked a question at Monday’s meeting: will State College residents pay, too?
The issue, she said, was that while Philipsburg would be paying a penalty, it is also being told it will lose the barracks in adjacent Rush Township. Instead, that station is set to move Benner Township, dropped between State College and Bellefonte, both of which already have their own police departments.
Actually, if you have a State College ZIP code, you might be served by departments in State College borough, Ferguson Township or Patton Township. Bellefonte, on the other hand, also has Spring Township police serving that area. The Rockview state police are on top of that.
“They are inundated with protection,” Goss said.
Borough President Barb Gette noted why. Five of those departments are municipal, and Philipsburg doesn’t pay for a police department.
“Twenty years ago, we had a department because we could afford it. Today we don’t have one because we can’t afford it,” she said.
At $25 per person, and with a 2010 census of 2,770 residents, the fee would cost the borough $69,250. Borough Manager Joel Watson called that cheap for the price of a police officer, and said he had been told the community would be covered by a dedicated officer in his car in the area.
Council member John Knowles is not convinced.
“If we’re paying $25 apiece and having one car assigned, what about the other cars? Where are they going to be? State College? And are they paying $25 apiece?” he asked. “State College is not going to have to pay it but it’s still going to get state police coverage.”