Daily News Staff Writer

Forward Township and Elizabeth are looking at the possibility of having one police force serve both communities.

The subject of having Forward Township police patrol the borough was discussed at a closed-door session between officials from both municipalities following a regular meeting of the Forward Township supervisors on Thursday.

Those who attended the meeting were township supervisors Tom DeRosa and Tom Headley and Elizabeth Mayor John Yacura and Elizabeth council members Monica Douglas, Robin Miller, Mary Van Fosson and Chad Rager.

There has been talk for more than a year of merging departments in Forward, Elizabeth Township, Elizabeth and West Elizabeth thanks to a feasibility study on the subject initiated by state Rep. David Levdansky, D-Forward Township.

The purpose of the study is to determine if it would be cost-effective to consolidate the smaller departments into a regional force while maintaining public safety standards.

"It doesn't look like it's going anywhere with consolidation (between the borough and the township)," Yacura said after the meeting.

"They didn't seem like they were real interested in doing this by themselves," Yacura said of the township.

Because of the cost, the Elizabeth chief added, "It doesn't benefit Forward by doing this."

Headley said afterward a police agreement with the borough wasn't absolutely out of the question.

"At this point I don't have enough information to make any kind of decision," he said. "We may have another conversation sometime in the future. We haven't closed any doors."

In other business, Headley said he's satisfied with ongoing clean-up efforts at a local former strip mine, but noted the township would ask the company doing the remediation work to implement a public involvement plan if there is interest in such a plan from residents.

Headley said he was satisfied with Reserve Coal Properties Co.'s efforts to remediate a strip-mined area near Williamsport and Pangburn Hollow roads after recently meeting with state Department of Environmental Protection and coal industry officials.

A remediation project at the site in 2005 had removed drums of waste benzene that had been buried there sometime in the 1960s after the coal was stripped, he said. A wetland, which had formed over the buried chemicals, was disturbed when the chemicals were unearthed and removed. Headley said the latest efforts at the site involve getting the wetland re-established.

Headley said he contacted DEP and industry officials about the site after a resident who lives near the former mine saw a legal notice advertising a 30-day public comment period about the project in early July.

Headley said he'd gotten in touch with the resident after the meeting but hadn't heard anything back. Headley said the township will conduct a public meeting if that resident or anyone else who lives near the site requests it.


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