There are petitions circulating in Reynoldsville and online that call for the funding for part time police officers be restored to the 2021 budget.
The budget totals $833,175 and does include funding for the regular police items including the salary for Chief Troy Bell, but does not include money for part time officers.
Right now, one position is filled by Officer Tammy Murray, who works ten hours a week. That schedule started in February of this year when council adopted an amended 2020 budget which moved her from full time to part time status.
Georgia Murray, mother of Officer Murray is one of those circulating the petition. She said it has been placed at three locations, Mike’s BILO, McCabe’s Drug Store, and the Reynoldsville Hardware, as well as online. She says that, to date, approximately 284 signatures have been collected. Some people have expressed their concern online about the lack of police protection in the borough if this budget is adopted as is.
William Cebulskie, Reynoldsville Borough Council president, confirmed that the 2021 budget does not include funding for a part time officer, but he added that the money saved will be used as part of the borough’s efforts to beautify the town.
“We plan to take that money and do things in town to attract more people,” he said.
The borough is responsible for matching funds for state grants, including the more than $200,000 grant being sought by the Reynoldsville Pool. In June of this year, council adopted a resolution of commitment to provide $44,000 in matching funds for that grant. Cebulskie said other grants are being sought that will require matching monies as well.
He said that he has had discussions with Troop C of the Pennsylvania State Police about providing coverage when needed, and he is confident that will happen. He also said funding for a part time officer could be revisited in future budgets, but this year the need is greater for matching funds and “the budget reflects that.”
Council approved the first reading of the budget at its meeting November 10. It does include a new amusement tax on games of skill to raise additional funds. Final action will take place at the December 16 meeting at 6 p.m. It will be held at the Reynoldsville Fire Hall.
Corrected 12/4/2020 9:05 a.m.