Last updated: March 11. 2014 8:53AM - 2603 Views
B. Garret Rogan Times Leader Correspondent

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HUGHESTOWN - The Hughestown Borough Council voted during Monday’s council meeting to continue participating in an intergovernmental study to determine the costs associated with the formation of a regionalized police force for several Greater Pittston Area communities.

The measure passed by a margin of six to one with council member David Stefanofski casting the sole vote against.

He pointed to his dissatisfaction with Hughestown’s involvement in a regional compost recycling program and fears of future costs as some of his reasons for opposing regionalization.

Exact figures for the costs associated with a regionalized police force will ultimately be determined by the municipalities that opt into an agreement, but hypothetical figures based on Hughestown’s potential involvement with Avoca, Dupont, Duryea, Jenkins and Laflin would see Hughestown saving approximately $74,000 of the current $180,000 budgeted for police service in 2014.

The hypothetical arrangement would also guarantee that one of 24 full time police officers patrol Hughestown at all times.

Hughestown is currently staffed by eight part-time officers under the supervision of Asst. Chief Darren Bidwell.

The council also voted to hire retired Pennsylvania State Police Sergeant Jeffrey Balut as a ninth part-time officer.

That vote, which would place Balut as the officer in charge, passed by a margin of five to two with Stefanofski being joined by Marie Griglock in opposition.

Griglock, for her part, raised a motion to promote Bidwell to Chief of Police, only to see it fail with council members Robert Gable, Barbara Gato, Phil Falvo, Ed Strubek and Bill Yuhas all voting against.

In other matters, Mayor Wayne Quick, Jr., informed residents that surveys would be conducted for residents on Rock Street during the month of March. If the surveys show that the area is of low-to-moderate income, a sewer project on Rock Street could potentially qualify for state grant funding.

Next for Hughestown: Regular Borough Council Meeting, April 7, 7:30 p.m.

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