SOUTHWESTERN REGIONAL POLICE BOARD
May 8, 2019 – 7:00 PM
Meeting called to order by Chairman M. Bollinger at 7:00 pm. The following were in attendance:
- Shearer, R. Lint – North Codorus Twp. (NCT)
- Bollinger (Chairman), D. Schmidt – Heidelberg Twp. (HT)
- Miller (Vice-Chairman) – Manheim Twp. (MT)
- Hilt, R. Whyland – Spring Grove Borough (SGB)
- Bean – Chief of Police
- Nickell – Police Administrator
- Tilley – Solicitor
YORK COLLEGE SURVEY PRESENTATION: A panel of three (3) York College students, assisted by Dr. Witherup, presented the results of the survey they performed. The following highlights were presented:
- 1,526 surveys were mailed, 557 were returned (a higher return rate than normal).
- 260 from NCT; 89 from HT; 73 from MT; 76 from SGB, 59 didn’t indicate which municipality they live in
- 55% of respondents were male, 45% female.
- The average age of respondents was 60 (range 26 – 96).
- Majority of respondents own their home, reside with a spouse and/or children.
- Average income over $65,000
- 50% do not use the police department’s website
- Majority feel safe in their home at all times and walking during the day (decreases at night).
- Would feel safer with more patrols and visibility.
- Majority feel that SWRPD is professional.
- Majority feel officers are approachable.
- Majority feel police presence is appropriate.
- Things respondents like about SWRPD: Professionalism; Approachability; Fast Response Time; Dependability.
- What could be improved: More patrols; Treating every call with equal importance; More speed and traffic control.
- 87% of respondents indicated they were satisfied or highly satisfied with the department; 10% were neutral; 3% were dissatisfied or highly dissatisfied.
- When asked about interactions with police, 27% stated they had no interaction; 12% in the past six (6) months; 13% in the past six (6) to twelve (12) months; 32% in the past one (1) to five (5) years; 16 % more than five (5) years ago.
- 35% interacted due to medical incidents or house alarms; 15% were due to neighborhood concerns; 9% were victims of a crime (majority theft or robbery), 7% were involved in traffic accidents; 6% were involved in traffic violations, and 6% were victims of vandalism; 3% had “casual” contact, ie, asking an officer a question; 8% did not wish to state what type of encounter they had; 14% had multiple types of encounters.
- An overwhelming majority of those who had interaction with the police rated the experience as satisfied/highly satisfied.
- Less than 1% rated the experience as dissatisfied/highly dissatisfied.
- The website was utilized to 1) Check local reports; 2) Obtain contact information; 3) Check recent and upcoming events
- The survey panel concluded:
- Majority of the respondents appreciate the proximity and fast response time of SWRPD.
- Officers are approachable and friendly.
- An increase in visible presence will contribute to a greater feeling of safety at night.
The following questions were asked:
- Stalcup asked if the survey defined what “control of the officer” meant (one of the questions asked for those who had interaction with the department.) The survey asks if the officer had control of the situation. A separate section addressed the demeanor of the officer, i.e. how were they dressed, professionalism.
- LeFever asked how were the surveys sent; what determined who they were sent to? The address labels were printed from a random, computer generated listing provided by the York County Tax Bureau, which came from their property owner database. Several senior citizens from the Windy Hill Senior Center then stuffed and stamped the envelopes. The Manager of Spring Grove Borough provided a separate list of rental property addresses so renters could be included, due to the fact they have a lot of rental properties. The number of surveys sent in each municipality was based on the budget percentage they pay (i.e., 48.43% of the 1,526 surveys went to NCT residents).
- Whyland asked about one of the bullet points in the slides, that stated the residents do not want to lose the police department. Was this an actual question on the survey, or was it in the open response/comment section? It was an overwhelming response written in the comment section.
- Schmidt thanked the college for all the data they gathered and analyzed, and asked the following:
- It was mentioned several times that a majority of those surveyed do not use the website – does that mean specifically the police department website or the internet in general? Specifically the police website.
- He has sent out various business correspondences and received much less of a response than the 36% return for this survey. Is this a typical response for police department surveys, or is this a higher than normal rate due to residents’ emotions? Typically they receive a lower response rate than 36% for police department surveys. A community with a strong positive or negative opinion can result in a higher return rate. Witherup stated she was very happy with the high return rate, as it makes for a much smaller margin of error and they can speak confidently about the results.
- Chief asked if it was possible to get the detailed results of the survey as presented in the slide show. Witherup stated she would be providing the Powerpoint presentation and all of the survey data to him on a flash drive.
- What recommendation do they have to make people more aware of our website? Mail postcards, since the main reason they are not aware is because they do not use a computer.
BENECON HEALTH INSURANCE PRESENTATION : V. Nickell introduced Jonathan Ebersole, our account representative from Benecon/Intergovernmental Insurance Cooperative (IIC). Due to the fact the Police Board is considering changing health insurance providers, Mr. Ebersole wanted an opportunity to present the current health insurance benefit we have and answer questions. The following points were presented:
- There are currently 58 member municipalities in the ICC in York and Lancaster Counties.
- The ICC is able to get lower rates due to the number of people insured, and by being self-insured.
- Being a part of the IIC allows the department to be self-insured without the risk.
- We are able to design the health insurance plan to our own specifications, i.e. the co-pays and deductibles.
- The ICC is totally transparent about costs – every invoice shows a concise break down of where the money goes.
- The ICC Board is comprised of seven (7) local government managers that use the product.
- The ICC plan is the most efficient way to fund health care over time. You can go directly to Highmark or Capital Blue Cross and get a lower rate for a year or two, but in the long term being self-insured is more efficient and effective.
- Health insurance offered in the market place has up to a 20% administrative cost, ICC’s administrative cost is 4-5%.
- Seventy-five percent (75%) of the money we pay to Benecon goes directly into the claim fund “checking account”. Anything not used during a claim year is returned.
- The ICC eliminates the insurance company profit margin and the risk charges.
- The ICC has over twenty-six (26) years of experience.
- The ICC is modeled to benefit the members, not the insurance company.
- The ICC is one of fifteen (15) cooperatives Benecon manages across the country.
- Benecon has a full compliance staff comprised of attorneys to help members stay compliant with federal health care reform.
- Any individual who goes over $45,000 in a claim year goes to re-insurance – 21% of our premium goes to re-insurance.
- The Highmark administration fee is 0.7% of our premium. They were able to negotiate a low admin fee by allowing them to keep any prescription rebates.
- The Benecon administration fee is 1.3% – for a total of 3% administration fee; vs. up to 20% in the marketplace.
- If the department spends everything in its claim fund “checking account” they do not re-assess us and charge more; we are protected by the re-insurance and a cross-claim fee all the members pay to protect one another.
- Since 1991 almost $77 million has been returned to the ICC members
- Health care inflation is typically 8-10% a year. Their average renewal in 2019 was 4.5%.
- On average ICC members get money back five (5) out of seven (7) years – we have done better than average and received money back over the past six (6) years – a total of $621,000.
- ICC members receive the added benefit of Connect Care 3 – a free service offered for those having difficulty with a diagnosis and request assistance in finding the best doctors for care. Nickell stated she used this service a few years ago, and they saved her life.
- Schmidt asked the following questions:
- What percentage of health care plans are self-funded vs. traditional (marketplace). Of the larger the groups (over 1,000), 80-88% self-fund; smaller groups have a very low percentage; they cannot afford the risk. That is the advantage of being a part of the ICC, as a small group we can still self-fund.
- Are the refunds distributed annually? Yes, once the year is closed out 50% of the refund is sent out, the remaining is usually sent out in July. (We recently received our first 50% for 2018).
- What is the risk with self-funding? When you insure directly through the marketplace you pay the premium to the provider (i.e. Highmark) and they assume all the risk. They are not in business to lose money, so they will make sure they charge enough to cover their costs; they keep any funds left over. When you self-fund through the IIC they cap the risk at $45,000 per participant (stop-loss insurance) and the municipality gets money back in the good years. We receive a volume discount on the stop-loss insurance by being a member of the IIC.
- Whyland asked the following:
- What were our claims for 2018? We paid $338,000 into the claim fund, paid out $354,000 in claims. Because of the reinsurance we are getting $50,000 back even though we paid out more in claims than we deposited.
- What can the department do to save money in the IIC? Changing the plan design by raising the deductible and/or co-pays is the easiest way to save money. Jonathan stated he ran some numbers in changing the co-pays to match another quote we had received and it realized an annual savings of $13,000-$15,000.
- Nickell asked what the process is if the Police Board decides to withdraw from the ICC? What run-out claims would the department be responsible for? The department has to notify Benecon of their intent to leave by June 30th. Because we are self-funded, we would be responsible for any unpaid claims if we move to a traditional health insurance plan. It typically takes 30-60 days for a claim to be invoiced out for payment, so any claims that occur in November and December are typically paid in January and February and would be the department’s responsibility. New insurance companies coming in know they will not be required to pay these claims, and will factor this into the quote, resulting in a lower cost to the department the first year.
- The department would be responsible for any invoice that has not been paid by December 31, 2019. Sometimes invoices take longer than two (2) months to process (i.e. hospital bills), so we need to be aware of the possible bills the department would be responsible for.
- Benecon has a 98% retention rate of its members, so they do not have an extensive history of how long the run-out claims go. Jonathan stated that the department should expect between $25,000 – $50,000 in run-out claims if they decide to leave.
- Schmidt asked if the program has a strong wellness component. Yes, ConnectCare3 provides registered nurses to assist in getting patients to the best specialists to get the best end result. This lowers the chance of re-admittance and/or a bad outcome. The employee gets back to work faster. They also provide certified health coaches to assist patients in achieving wellness goals, i.e., lose weight. All preventive care is covered at no cost to the patient.
PUBLIC COMMENT: T. Zeigler, NCT resident, asked if the survey results would be posted on the website – Chief responded yes, he would post whatever the college provides him.
- LeFever, NCT resident, thanked the Board for the recognition event conducted last evening for Chief Bean. She noticed D. Schmidt had added “Heidelberg Township” to his nameplate and requested the rest of the Board do the same. It is very helpful to know which municipality they represent. She requested that Board members speak a little louder, they are difficult to hear at times and the residents really want to hear what they have to say. Last month she was encouraged by the discussion of NCT possibly contracting services from SWRPD. However, the more she has learned and heard other perspectives she has become aware that it wouldn’t be in everyone’s best interest to do so. She understands that the Police Board must continue to prepare for NCT’s withdrawal but she hopes the community will continue to communicate their wishes to the NCT Supervisors.
- Emenheiser, NCT resident, asked if the Board is going to solicit other municipalities to join the department. Chief Bean stated they have spent a lot of time in doing this; selling hours to other municipalities is the easiest way to cut costs. About three (3) years ago Chairman Bollinger sent letters to thirteen (13) municipalities; the response was a couple of phone calls. This past Fall a couple of Board members and Chief attended several municipalities’ board meetings and made a presentation informing them of services we could offer them. Follow-up phone calls have been made, but to-date there hasn’t been any serious interest. Once the department stabilizes it might be feasible to try again, as he believes it is the best way to reduce costs.
- Dennis, NCT resident, asked what an employee pays out of pocket for health insurance. Employees pay $45 per pay plus a deductible of $500 (individual)/$1000 (family). This is the same whether it’s a family or individual policy.
MINUTES: Review of the minutes of April 10 and April 23, 2019. Motion by L. Miller, second by D. Schmidt to approve the minutes as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
TREASURER’S REPORT: (Attachment A) Treasurer’s Report was presented. R. Shearer asked why there wasn’t an invoice for Stock & Leader. V. Nickell stated she would check into it and let the Board know the status. Motion by L. Miller, second by R. Whyland to to approve the Treasurer’s Report as presented. Motion carried unanimously.
Chief’s Notes (Attachment B): The Chief’s Notes were presented as attached with the following additional comments:
Chief acknowledged this would be his last meeting and estimated we have conducted 209 meetings since the creation of the department. One of our founding members, Dave O’Brien, was in attendance tonight. Chief stated he has missed approximately six (6) meetings in seventeen (17) years. Things are going well in getting Sgt. Stalcup acclimated to being the Officer In Charge.
Use of the website has been growing. The end of 2018 showed six (6) people visited the website over a two-week period; in February 106 people visited over a two-week period. Posting the crime stats is a time-consuming endeavor, which is why we are behind in posting them. He and Sgt. Stalcup have been discussing this and may have another employee assist with the upkeep of the website.
There were five (5) press releases this past month, most notable was a home invasion in the Bahn development in NCT which is still being investigated.
There were 347 calls for service during the month of April, 135 traffic contacts and 23 people were arrested with 35 charges filed.
Contracting Services: M. Bollinger stated that after last month’s special meeting he felt it prudent to read through the minutes, listen to comments from Board members at SGB and his colleague at HT in addition to an e-mail from a resident. He took everything in and composed the following response:
It is the consensus between HT and SGB that after reviewing all the minutes, statements and financial documents we decline at this time to move in the direction of contracting police services for the following reasons:
- Past attempts to offer contracting were best if we all stayed together and we were to save money as a group. It also offers stability for other municipalities to come on board.
- There seems to be conflicting statements between MT and NCT regarding the contracting scenario, especially in regard to assets. MT thought it prudent to possibly give up assets and exit the contract and NCT objected. Or they wanted us to give them pricing and then they would negotiate.
- Someone in the audience at the special meeting overheard the NCT Manager state that they had no intentions of giving assets back. This alone leaves HT and SGB at a significant crossroad in which we have no idea of how to proceed.
- In matters involving the hard work Board members have put forth in the budget preparation as well as many other things to only be told “nothing has been done for months to fix the problems” has left HT and SGB to pull back slightly.
- If MT and NCT want to change moving forward we suggest you design the strategy and bring it back to us for negotiation, but only after this department’s stabilization occurs.
Moving forward, at least for now, this Board should be following the Articles of Agreement that were set in place until such a time where the department has again stabilized and to allow a thorough and detailed review of all matters that need to change.
Since HT, SGB and MT may be left with a police department, why wouldn’t we want to protect ourselves as well? As stated, this would include NCT staying and being part of the Board, and having opportunity to build the department up to a point were other policing options can be discussed for all of our benefit. But now is not a good time for any of the stated above. Further, regarding stability, contracting police services would require a significant contract of at least ten (10) to fifteen (15) years, with even steeper penalties for early termination of the contract.
HT and SGB again ask, will you stay and help us to help you? If the answer is “no”, then we ask that you allow from this point forward the process for departure to seamlessly take place so the remaining municipalities may seek to pick up the pieces and move forward. We do hope that you will stay on board.
Again, we decline to discuss contracting options at this time, but in no way are we permanently closing the door to future productive ideas that benefit all of us, to include contracting services.
There was no comment from any Board members regarding Chairman Bollinger’s statement at this time.
The 2020 budget was distributed and offered as a working document moving forward. M. Bollinger stated that the Board could approve it tonight, if they want. The hours of service for this proposed budget were stated as follows:
- NCT 194 hours a week
- HT – 73.85 hours a week
- MT – 65.65 hours a week
- SGB – 68 hours a week
- The cost per hour is $85.44
The budget has had a major overhaul, with adjustments to increases that haven’t occurred over the last two (2) years. According to documents that he has regarding offers to contract police services in 2016 the cost was $83-$84 per hour. There was no further discussion of the 2020 budget.
Articles of Agreement: The only time they should be opened would be to change things if NCT exits the department.
Separation Agreement: A draft of the Separation Agreement was distributed last month to all the municipalities; he has not seen any comments from anyone to-date. He is more interested in seeing the final document and executing it within thirty (30) days.
Chairman Bollinger invited B. Hilt, R. Whyland and D. Schmidt for any comments on all the aforementioned. D. Schmidt stated it is time to get the show on the road and move things along. B. Hilt stated that SGB agrees with everything Chairman Bollinger stated.
Motion by R. Whyland, second by B. Hilt to finalize the Separation Agreement and begin the conversation. B. Hilt requested the motion be amended to state who would be contacting who. Motion was amended to state W. Tilley will contact the NCT attorney.
- Miller asked how can the Police Board be acting on a Separation Agreement when they haven’t received any input from the municipalities yet. He took it to MT and gave it directly to their solicitor to review and make sure it suits MT. The MT Board hasn’t had time to act on it, but they did receive a letter from their solicitor approving it, and he doesn’t see a problem with MT approving it at their next meeting. But in the meantime, this Board is moving on with an agreement that hasn’t been approved by the municipalities yet. B. Hilt stated the SGB solicitor reviewed it and their Board discussed it and they are fine with it. L. Miller asked if they took official action, B. Hilt replied yes. M. Bollinger stated that HT is more concerned with what the final agreement looks like; they did not have any issues with the draft. There was no feedback in thirty (30) days – the motion last month was to take it back to the municipalities and get comments for tonight’s meeting, that’s why this motion is on the floor. L. Miller was satisfied with this explanation.
The motion was voted upon and carried unanimously.
Sgt. Stalcup – Officer In Charge (OIC) Pay Rate: In accordance with the CBA, the OIC pay rate is an additional 5% to the officer’s current pay. M. Bollinger wanted everyone to be aware of this, and as of June 6th Sgt. Stalcup will realize a 5% increase in his pay rate.
Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): R. Whyland stated they received a copy back from the Police Association’s solicitor today, but it still needs some work. W. Tilley asked if the Police Board wanted to authorize him to work with R. Whyland and B. Hilt to clean up the MOU. L. Miller stated it’s not really up to the Police Board, it depends on what R. Whyland and B. Hilt want. R. Whyland stated they need W. Tilley’s input and they have already asked him a few questions. B. Hilt stated they need assistance with the verbiage and making sure it is legally sound. M. Bollinger stated he thinks it would go more smoothly if W. Tilley has had input and agrees with it prior to the Police Board seeing it. B. Hilt stated that they need to get things moving and suggested they recess instead of adjourning tonight so they can meet again to discuss it. W. Tilley stated that they can meet in Executive Session any time between meetings, and then adopt the document in Public Session. W. Tilley stated that if the Board approves, he would then meet with R. Whyland and B. Hilt and give his input on the MOU, then R. Whyland and B. Hilt can meet with the Association to present changes suggested by W. Tilley, and continue going back and forth until the next Board Meeting and then report on where they are in the process at that time. R. Whyland stated that one of the issues he has is the document names the OIC, he doesn’t want the Board limited to only one (1) person.
Motion by L. Miller, second by D. Schmidt authorizing W. Tilley to work on the MOU with R. Whyland and B. Hilt. Motion carried unanimously.
Building Agreement: M. Bollinger stated there had been a motion in a previous meeting for the managers to get together on this, but he doesn’t think it ever occurred. SGB just had a large commercial property appraised and he suggests this information be e-mailed to the Police Board members for their review. B. Hilt asked if NCT had anybody in mind. R. Shearer replied that they had discussed a local appraiser, but he does not have the name with him tonight, he will get the information to the Board members.
2020 Budget Proposal: Already distributed and discussed.
- Bollinger stated that NCT has made many requests for information from the office staff (rightfully so) but due to the amount of time required to fulfill these requests, he asked in future if these requests be made on a monthly basis and brought to the Police Board for approval. R. Shearer stated there would not be a need for any further requests for information at this time.
Meeting adjourned into Executive Session at 8:45 pm to discuss a personnel issue with no action to be taken afterwards.
- Tilley advised that if any additional Executive Sessions are conducted before the next Board meeting, they will be announced at the beginning of the next meeting, and any action to be taken will be done at that time.