It’s good to hear that the East Buffalo Township Supervisors will invite members of the Lewisburg Borough Council to a series of meetings to revise the disputed intergovernmental contract that governs the Buffalo Valley Regional Police Department.
As we first wrote in this space 20 months ago, elected officials in both municipalities should consider the best interests of their local taxpayers, then settle this funding dispute in a meeting room rather than a courtroom.
In the 18 months since members of the Lewisburg Borough Council authorized, then subsequently filed a lawsuit against their municipal next-door neighbor, both sides have spent tens of thousands of dollars in legal expenses. East Buffalo reported this week that their legal bill totals $70,000.
As part of the duties they accepted upon election, municipal officials should be communicating and negotiating in good faith to resolve this dispute.
Lewisburg — which pays 48 percent of the funding for the police department — is demanding that East Buffalo Township — which initially paid 52 percent when the agreement was penned in 2011 before adjusting in 2017 to a 50 percent share — pay more than $93,000 it says the township owes the police department coffers since it made its 2 percent adjustment.
Lewisburg maintains that East Buffalo Township must adhere to existing conditions of the 2011 agreement and pay 52 percent of police department funding while the borough pays 48 percent.
On Monday, East Buffalo Township Supervisors Matt Schumacher, Char Gray and Jim Knight voted to send a formal request, asking Lewisburg Borough Council members to meet.
Should the invite be declined, the supervisors propose that either the borough or the township take ownership of the department and sell services to the other.
The Buffalo Valley Police Department provides vital public safety services to residents in each community, so we once again urge municipal officials to carry out their sworn duty to serve the citizens they represent by meeting, negotiating and forging an agreement.
NOTE: Opinions expressed in The Daily Item’s editorials are the consensus of the publisher, top newsroom executives and community members of the editorial board. Today’s was written by Digital Editor Dave Hilliard.