HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – The fee Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf wants municipalities to start paying for full-time state police coverage is a fraction of what other municipalities pay for their local police departments.
Many municipalities aren’t happy about it, but the governor’s office is calling it a bargain.
Monroe Township Supervisor Carl Kuhl is calling the $25 dollar fee an unfunded mandate.
“I realize there is a budget crisis in the state, but there’s also one here,” Kuhl said.
The fee would raise an additional $63 million and would fall on the municipality, not the taxpayer.
“We’re going to have to squeeze money out of some place and the answer is – we don’t have it,” Kuhl said.
There are just under 6,000 residents living in Monroe Township. Multiply that by 25, it comes out to almost $150,000 the municipality would have to pay.
“Because there is no free cash sitting around to that magnitude, we will have to raise taxes,” Kuhl said.
But the governor’s office says the $25 is a bargain.
According to an Associated Press survey, communities who have their own police force pay about $230 per person for the protection.
Even with the big savings, Kuhl said they just don’t have the industry in Monroe Township to support the fee.
“We have a lot of people who are getting into the time of retiring, getting on social security, which means their earned income tax drops off the grid as such for us,” Kuhl said.
Leaders at Monroe Township are hoping the state legislature will help out by either reducing the amount per person or hold off entirely on approving the fee.
Currently, the money to pay state police to patrol and respond to those areas comes from the commonwealth’s general fund and the motor license fund, which is supposed to be used to repair roads and bridges across the state. The governor’s office said this fee would off set those costs and free up some money.