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Jon Barkman, an attorney for the Paint Township police union, speaks Monday night at a meeting during which the township rejected a shared services offer from neighboring Conemaugh Township. Barkman questioned officials who said the deal would not have been cost effective for Paint.

Paint Township police will remain on the job under township control after township supervisors on Monday rejected a shared services of-fer from neighboring Conemaugh Township.

“We were hoping we were going to have a larger cost savings,” supervisors’ Chairman Jeffrey Eash said, outlining factors behind the decision.

Conemaugh offered to take over police patrols, retaining all current Paint officers, for $288,000 a year for three years, Eash said. Supervisors estimated 2005 police costs at $295,000.

Adding more for estimated fuel costs and attorneys’ fees associated with police grievances put the figure a little higher, Eash said, but not enough to give up the operation.

“We really don’t have that much of a savings,” Eash said.

Supervisors’ calculations showed Paint could save $18,000 with the Conemaugh agreement but would lose $35,000 in income it gets to patrol Central City.

“I think with some restructuring and making a few changes, we can operate as efficiently or more efficiently as we can with a shared services agreement with Conemaugh,” Supervisor David Blough said.

An attorney for the police union questioned Eash’s figures.

Jon Barkman said his research showed the police operation cost Paint Township more than $325,000 last year.

Inflation and cost of a new police contract would only increase that next year, he stressed.

“If you are going to keep a police force, you are going to have to raise taxes,” Barkman said, responding to a petition supporting continuation of the Paint department.

“Who are you telling us we have to raise taxes?” demanded Andrew Tvardzik, who presented the petition he said contained 492 Paint Township residents’ signatures.

The petition stated those signing supported a locally governed department.

There have only been two tax increases in two decades, Tvardzik said, pointing to continued growth in the police department services, manpower and equipment during those years.

Numerous police issues remain, township Solicitor Michelle Tokarsky reminded supervisors.

“There’s animosity between your force and your supervisors,” Tokarsky said.

“They are back stabbing each other, firing grievances. I’ve tried to understand why that is.”

The township’s police dog remains unavailable because there is no vehicle available to transport him.

And an internal investigation is looking into policy violations that put illegal drugs and other evidence items into a township Dumpster in August.

Supervisors previously hired former Solicitor Samuel Clapper to work on police issues, but Tvardzik called for an independent attorney.

“Why do you want somebody else more independent than (Clapper)?” Tokarsky said.

“You are going to pay somebody to bring them up to speed.”

“I think we should take it out of the building,” Tvardzik said.

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