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Township Approves Budgets; Radios Delayed

SANATOGA PA – Remember those new portable radios on which the Lower Pottsgrove Police Department was awaiting delivery from Montgomery County, and for which township taxpayers are shelling out about $27,000 per year over five years to buy?

Next year’s payment – along with the remainder of the township’s 2017 budgets – was officially approved Thursday (Dec. 15, 2016) by the Board of Commissioners. Police officers must wait a few months longer for their radios, however, Police Chief Michael Foltz has reported.

Lower Pottsgrove’s budgets for its general operating fund, sewer fund, sewer capital fund, street light fund, park and recreation fund, and state fund all won board acceptance Thursday.

  • There is no property tax increase accompanying the $6.1 million general fund budget, so taxes remain unchanged at about $338 per year on the typical township home valued at $125,000.
  • Taxes supporting operations of the township’s two fire companies, local services, and the light fund also remain unchanged.
  • Because of a new trash-hauling contract, the cost of garbage disposal has gone down $10 to $137.50 per year.
  • Find other stories in The Post about the budget, here.

As part of general fund expenses, Lower Pottsgrove during 2017 will pay $27,186 as its portion of the second of five scheduled $59,566 payments on a county-arranged loan to purchase the radios. The total includes roughly $32,000 being paid annually by the Ringing Hill Fire Company for its own set of radios. Sanatoga Fire Company is buying its radios separately, according to township Manager Ed Wagner.

The devices are expected to enable easy communication between police agencies, fire departments, other first responders, and county dispatchers. New radios are being distributed countywide, with each municipality bearing costs.

The problem, Foltz said earlier this month, is that they don’t work properly. The county’s Department of Public Safety has alerted the chief and other law enforcement leaders that some models of the new radios, manufactured by Motorola, were “shutting off unexplainably.” Foltz did not say the problem occurred among his officers, but was reported by others.

“An officer would be out on patrol, and wouldn’t need his radio for a period of time, so doesn’t check it,” Foltz told commissioners during their Dec. 5 meeting. “Then when he needs and goes to use it, he finds it’s off, and can’t get it to work.”

Defective radios have already been returned to Motorola, the county indicated, and the manufacturer will replace those affected without charge. Determining the problem, solving it, and shipping replacement radios will delay their delivery “until late Spring 2017,” Foltz estimated.

Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ Dec. 15 meeting):

Photo from Google Images

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