Township objects to prison, Pocopson Home residents included in share funding
By Kelli Siehl, Staff Writer, The Times
POCOPSON — Township officials say that local residents should not be asked to pay for the fire-protection cost of residents at county-owned facilities, which now threaten to eat up one-third — or more – of the municipal budget, were the township to comply with funding recommendations.
At a board of supervisors’ meeting earlier this month, board chair Ricki Stumpo revealed that based on the township residential and county population, it is being assessed some $280,000 just by Longwood Fire Company. The township also receives fire protection from Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company and EMS service from Good Fellowship Ambulance, and helps fund both.
Stumpo outlined plans to move forward with efforts to have those residing in county facilities taken out of the equation when figuring the township’s fair share cost for fire and ambulance services. She stressed the board’s commitment to the township’s taxpayers and said she plans to meet with Longwood’s Fire Chief, A.J. McCarthy in the next few weeks to discuss the township’s financial responsibilities.
Currently, according to Stumpo, determination of the township’s fair share payment includes the number of individuals being served at several county facilities, notably, the Pocopson Home and Chester County Prison. Officials say those numbers make up about a quarter of the township’s total population.
Stumpo read a letter received from Longwood Fire Company stating the township owes more than $242,000 for emergency services. On top of that cost, she said, the fire company wants the township to pay an additional $38,000 per year for the next five years to help purchase a rescue squad vehicle – that cost would be split between Pocopson and two other townships.
The 2014 published Pocopson Township budget shows an allotment of just over $120,000 for Longwood fire and ambulance service which falls short of the billed fair share amount by a whopping $180,000. In addition, Stumpo reminded those in attendance that the township also pays for services received from Po-Mar-Lin Fire Company and Good Fellowship Ambulance.
Stumpo said municipalities are mandated by the state to fund emergency services for their residents and “it’s not fair that we are paying for the services being used by county.”