Merger Discussions Advance With Cornell And Moon School Districts

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United ...

Map of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exploration of a possible merger between neighboring school districts Cornell and Moon Area will continue as long as both sides show interest in doing so.

Cornell Superintendent Aaron Thomas updated his school board Thursday night as to the direction of recent talks between the adjacent districts. He said he met last week with Curt Baker, Moon Area’s superintendent, for a “half strategic and half brainstorming” session as to how a merger could occur.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/education/2014/09/19/Merger-discussions-advance-with-Cornell-and-Moon-school-districts/stories/201409190166

Changes Coming To Lancaster And Berks Transit, But A Combined New Authority Won’t Look Different To Bus Riders

Picture 565Lancaster’s Red Rose Transit Authority board took its first formal step toward a merger with Berks County’s BARTA system on Wednesday.

But the combined South Central Transit Authority will be indistinguishable from the present RRTA and BARTA.

“We’ll form a new authority and nobody will know the difference,” RRTA Executive Director David Kilmer said.

The single authority will operate RRTA and BARTA buses in their respective counties. The names on the buses will not change, nor will their colors.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/news/local/changes-coming-to-lancaster-and-berks-transit-but-a-combined/article_090e5798-3ec5-11e4-a7b4-001a4bcf6878.html

Western Pennsylvania District Provides Example Of Successful School Merger

Map of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United Sta...

Map of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MONACA, PA – In a dimly lit steakhouse some 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh, two school superintendents – one current and one newly retired – crowd into a booth illuminated by neon signs.

The smell of barbecue permeates the air at PJ’s Bar-B-Q & Steak House, as Nick Perry and Dan Matsook grab menus and talk school mergers.

For Matsook, it’s a familiar setting for such a discussion.

In October 2005, Matsook, then superintendent of the Center Area School District, sat in another restaurant, the Ground Round in nearby Moon Township, where he and school officials from his district and the neighboring Monaca School District laid the foundation for what would be the first voluntary merger of two school districts in Pennsylvania.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article/20140113/NEWS/301139967/1052#.UtQx2vRDsxI

Enhanced by Zemanta

Cocalico Police Go Regional

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The process of establishing a Cocalico-area regional police force got underway officially on Nov. 26 when the East Cocalico Police Board held its organizational meeting.

The nine-member board — two representatives each from East and West Cocalico townships and Denver and Adamstown boroughs, plus one member-at-large — met in the East Cocalico Township municipal building.

The four municipalities agreed to regionalize over cost concerns regarding their current coverage, which is provided by East Cocalico Township.

West Cocalico, Adamstown and Denver were considering dropping East Cocalico’s police coverage. All had sought bids from Northern Lancaster County Regional Police, which is headquartered in Clay Township.

Read more:  http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/926265_Cocalico-police-go-regional.html#ixzz2mL1NFZQy

Southwestern Pennsylvania Transit Merger Report Is Due Out In April

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A private firm hired by PennDOT to study the merging of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s 10 transit systems — which has drawn interest from county leaders across the region — said on Monday it will present its findings in April.

Officials from outside of Alle­gheny County said forming a regional transit system is a good idea but are wary of taking on the costs of the Port Authority of Allegheny County.

“We’ve got to look at it. All of these small transit systems are dying on the vine. There’s no federal and state funding. You want to see if you can consolidate some things, but a lot of details have to be worked out,” said Washington County Commissioner Larry Maggi. “I certainly don’t want to absorb (Port Authority legacy costs) to Washington County taxpayers.”

Read more: http://triblive.com/news/adminpage/4961575-74/transit-county-authority#ixzz2j8v6KQEL
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook

PMMC To Consolidate Business Office, Move 30 More Jobs Out Of Pottstown

POTTSTOWN, PA — Pottstown Memorial Medical Center has confirmed that business operations for the hospital and several others owned by Community Health Systems will be consolidated in Easton, moving 30 jobs there.

Hospital spokeswoman Debra Bennis provided the following statement after The Mercury contacted her seeking confirmation of a tip: “Providing patients with quality health care while operating an efficient organization is one of our top priorities.  To keep hospital resources focused on our patients, we are moving our business office functions to a centralized, external office in Easton.  This transition will also enhance operational efficiencies through technological advances for scheduling appointments.  All 30 affected employees are being offered a position with the central business office or another area of our hospital. We value these individuals and appreciate the professionalism they bring to our organization.”

A business office worker who contacted The Mercury, and whose name has been withheld, said the office workers were gathered into a meeting Sept. 11 during which the hospital’s CEO and CFO informed them of the change.

Read more: http://www.pottsmerc.com/general-news/20130919/pmmc-to-consolidate-business-office-move-30-more-jobs-out-of-pottstown

Guard Changing, Not Mission At Western Berks Regional Police Department

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dressed in blue uniforms, Scott L. Wagner and William S. Schlichter sit across from each other talking about the past, present and future of the Western Berks Regional Police Department.

“As I told Chief Schlichter, I got this agency to where it is now,” said Wagner, 54, the outgoing chief of the department.  “It’s now his turn to take it forward, and I wish him nothing but the best in the future.”

The department, which has provided 24/7 police coverage in Wernersville and Robesonia since 2010, is in transition as Wagner prepares for retirement and Schlichter begins his tenure as the new chief.

During an interview at the department, Wagner and Schlichter said they were excited and ready for their next steps.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=494779

Antietam, Exeter Hold Public Session On Merger Possibilities

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At a town meeting Monday night at Reformation Lutheran Church in Exeter Township, the questions reached so far across the board that Arlene Unger had to admit, “I think we’re a little premature with the specifics of the questions.”

“Some questions can’t be answered until the (school) boards decide which model they want to pursue,” Unger of Exeter Township said at the meeting hosted by the church and organized by area pastors.

Just what direction school officials plan to go is a question that’s still up in the air.

“It’s important for us to get a feel of what you feel,” said Exeter School Board President Robert H. Quinter Jr.  “We’re going to make the decision.  So the more information I get from you at meetings like this, the better off I am.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=484010

Mount Penn Votes To Reopen Merger Talks With Lower Alsace Township

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Mount Penn Borough Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to reopen merger discussions with Lower Alsace Township.

In a separate matter, they also accepted the resignation of Mayor Joshua Nowotarski and appointed a new mayor.

Lower Alsace Township supervisors sent a letter to Mount Penn officials last month asking that they resume discussions about the municipalities merging or pay merger study fees the township incurred.

Councilman Thomas Smith said he felt the discussions should continue, but suggested Mount Penn appoint a committee to speak with Lower Alsace supervisors instead of the entire council participating.  Council members agreed, settling on a three-member committee.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=477228

Swoyersville Borough Council Calls For Fire Department Summit

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Luzerne County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Swoyersville Borough Council wants a summit meeting with the fire chiefs of the borough’s three volunteer companies in order to dampen a controversy and move toward a consolidated fire service.

A funds solicitation letter sent by Swoyersville Hose Company No. 1 has become the catalyst for council action on issues that need clarification, borough coordinator Gene Breznay said.  Those issues include the operational status of Hose Company 1, its finances, membership and leadership, fire engine use and insurance coverage.

Breznay is working to set the meeting between borough officials and the fire chiefs of the three volunteer companies. No date has been set.

Swoyersville’s volunteer companies date back to the beginning of the 20th Century.  Swoyersville Hose Company No. 2 started in 1912 as the Broderick’s Company named after the Broderick family.  Maltby Fire Company, dating back to 1915, was named after the Maltby section of the borough and the Maltby Colliery.  A recent fundraising letter sent out by Swoyersville Hose Company No. 1 boasts of 99 years of service, meaning a startup date in 1914.

Read more:  http://citizensvoice.com/news/swoyersville-council-calls-for-summit-1.1488144

School Merger A Hard Sell At Exeter Forum

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exeter School District residents made it clear Tuesday night that a full merger with the Antietam School District would be a hard sell to them.

“It seems as if it’s a white knight issue, with Exeter rescuing a school district that’s looking at this as a win-win opportunity,” resident Kim Farinelli told the Exeter School Board and more than 150 attendees who packed the cafeteria at the Reiffton School.

“I don’t see why there’s any reason to have this discussion,” resident Nikki Smith added. “It seems all negative for us and all positive for Antietam.”

The two were among many who took to the podium to voice their opinions at the Exeter community forum, which focused on the findings of a feasibility study on a possible merger between the two districts.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=474451

Merger’s Benefits Mulled At Antietam Meeting

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If the Antietam and Exeter school districts were to combine in some form, students from both could take advantage of a minimum of 42 new course offerings.

They’d also have access to 10 different buildings and added athletic facilities.

And have the opportunity to take part in up to 31 new clubs and activities.

“You’d have the capacity to do a lot more,” Kerry Moyer told more than 150 parents and residents at Antietam’s Mount Penn Primary Center Wednesday. “And you’d have the capacity to accommodate a large enrollment (increase) if it does happen.”

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=472673

Blair County Representatives Visit Reading

If law enforcement leaders can lay out a clear-cut strategy to reduce drug and gang activity in Reading and Berks County, there is a good chance businesses will be willing to pay for some of it.

That was the feeling of Ellen T. Horan, president and CEO of the Greater Reading Chamber of Commerce & Industry, on Thursday after she and other area leaders got a rundown of how a business-fueled crime-fighting program has succeeded in Blair County.

“In our community, it would be helpful to have the business community step up, if we developed some strategies and expected outcomes,” Horan said.

The nonprofit program, Operation Our Town, was started by business leaders in Blair County to help fund law enforcement and community efforts to stop young people from becoming criminals.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=454375

Colebrookdale Agrees To Continue Police Merger Discussions

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLEBROOKDALE — Township commissioners are in agreement to continue talks about a possible merger between the Boyertown and Colebrookdale police departments.

The commissioners reviewed a preliminary budget drawn up by the managers of both jurisdictions and unanimously agreed at their Feb. 19 meeting to move ahead in discussions with Boyertown borough officials.

With an estimated budget of nearly $2 million, the commissioners discussed ways of combining staff and appropriating costs, including how to fund pension plans. A meeting with pension representatives from both Boyertown and Colebrookdale is scheduled for March 28.

Read more:  http://www.pottsmerc.com/article/20130220/NEWS01/130229904/colebrookdale-agrees-to-continue-police-merger-discussions#full_story

Joining Forces Regional Approach To Policing Effective But Not Easy

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There’s a certain charm to a small-town police force such as Chief Richard Leisey Sr.’s department in Mohnton.

“Our residents like to see our car,” he said. “With a small department, we know the people who are in town, who they are, where they live.”

Like a number of other Berks County police chiefs, Leisey fears that personal touch would fade if his department joined a regional police force.

But as budget cuts force small departments to work fewer hours, cut officers or even disband, the idea of a regional force is looking better and better to Leisey.

“We would have 24/7 (local coverage) again,” he said.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=450019

No Boyertown Tax Hike, But Water Rates Rise

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After approving a $1.5 million budget without a tax increase, Boyertown Borough Council endorsed a 9.35 percent water rate hike Wednesday in hopes that it will offset a $100,000 decline in commercial and industrial water revenues.

The 6-0 budget vote maintains the current property tax rate of 5.14 mills, leaving the annual tax bill for a property assessed at $100,000 at $514.

By raising water rates, the borough council hopes to generate an additional $150,000 in revenue, with the extra $50,000 acting as a cushion against rising expenses and preventing more rate hikes in the near future.

Council hopes to have the new rates take effect in the first quarter of 2013 and will vote in February to authorize them if the water authority approves them next month.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=439235

Boyertown, Colebrookdale To Again Talk Police Merger

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States with township and municipal boundaries (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Colebrookdale Township and Boyertown will soon return to a familiar topic of conversation between the two neighbors: a possible merger of their police departments.

At a recent Colebrookdale commissioners meeting, Township Manager Cindy Conrad said Boyertown has approached the township about holding merger talks for the second time in two years and the third time in the past decade.

The board agreed to renew the discussion, with President Todd M. Gamler noting that it doesn’t cost anything to talk.

The police forces have historically worked together.  Because the township nearly surrounds Boyertown, Colebrookdale officers often have to drive through the borough on the way to calls.

Read more:  http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=433906

West Penn Allegheny Cancels Highmark Affiliation Agreement

English: Highmark Place from PNC Park in Pitts...

English: Highmark Place from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, taken 2008 showing the new Highmark branding atop. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Saying that Highmark Inc. wanted it to restructure through bankruptcy, West Penn Allegheny Health System canceled the $475 million deal under which the insurer planned to acquire WPAHS.

WPAHS board chairman Jack Isherwood said in a written statement this morning that he considers bankruptcy a poor option for the health system’s employees and customers.

“To us, bankruptcy is not the first option, it’s the last option,” he said.

WPAHS is actively looking for new partners and is willing to consider all types of companies — another insurer, nonprofit, for-profit.

Senior management will remain in place, Mr. Isherwood said.

Exeter-Antietam School District Merger Talks Give Rise To Questions

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United States Public School Districts (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By definition, it’s a union – oftentimes, an absorption. It could be as simple as sharing a sports team. Or as complex as a new high school.

For the school officials who make the ultimate decision, though, mergers aren’t so easily defined. They’re complex; never the same. And ultimately, the trigger for heated emotions all around.

Since talk of a merger between the Exeter and Antietam school districts reignited this year, questions have arisen.

If the two were to combine, residents wondered, would there be a new name? Which high school would be used? And who, if anyone, would actually benefit?

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=410187

Talks Continue On Police Force Merger In Northwest Berks

Map of Berks County, Pennsylvania, United Stat...

Image via Wikipedia

The Bethel and Tulpehocken township supervisors Monday night continued discussing forming a regional police force.

The townships have been exploring a regional police force since 2010. Each township has its own part-time department and relies on state police coverage when no officers are on duty.

The focus Monday was on details, but the supervisors decided to send out a letter, asking if any other municipalities were interested in regional policing.

The inquiries will go to Upper Tulpehocken, Marion and Jefferson townships and Strausstown.

Read more: http://readingeagle.com/article.aspx?id=367757