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Coopersburg Council Begins Cost-Cutting Effort

Fire Chief Kevin Farnish meets with council over the department budget.

Coopersburg Council met with representatives of the borough's public services to "give council members the opportunity to ask questions," according to council president Jack Felch.

Much of the session was focused on fire department's funds. Felch inquired about the department's 2009 bottom line of $68,873.

"That's money that would be invested into a truck payment or into classes for trainee classes," said Coopersburg Fire Chief Kevin Farnish, who described the money as "capital investments."

Felch also found the lack of access for the public to the fire department's recent tax returns disconcerting.

"Our 2011 files are on extension," said Farnish. "Numerous people quit in 2010. We switched to a new computer system. Some information was old-fashioned in the books. But we're working with the IRS and they are working with us on this."

In an effort led by Borough Manager Timothy Paashaus, council is attempting to become more aware of borough expenses, especially a surplus of that amount.

"We need to take a closer look at some of the equipment the fire department uses," said Councilman Jon Walters. "I don't think a lot of it would be used unless we were needed down in Philadelphia."

Farnish remained adamant that all of the department's funds are used wisely and that the fire department operates with a minimal budget.

"Since 1980 we've received a 3 percent increase each year which is just over the average rate of inflation," said Farnish. "The borough contributes 30 percent of the budget. Our services only cost residents about three and a half cents per day."

Council will be able to make a more accurate assessment of the fire department's budget once the tax returns are organized by the Nov. 15 deadline.

S October 08, 2012 at 11:14 AM
Coopersburg is one square mile, with 2,000 residents, completely surrounded by Upper Saucon Township. You want to save money? Merge your police, fire, town administration, public works, etc with Upper Saucon. Tiny, self-governing entities like this are no longer viable.
Carla Uribe October 08, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Merging is a great idea worth investigating. I have seen this work successfully in several small communities near Reading (West Lawn, Sinking Spring, Wyomissing). Unfortunately, I no longer have contacts in that area to consult regarding implementation issues or cost saving details.
Elizabeth Rich (Editor) October 09, 2012 at 12:44 AM
Hey guys, Thanks for writing in! I'm technically on vacation (don't tell anyone I'm working ;-) ), but when I get back on the clock, I'll explore these questions. Elizabeth

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