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Perkasie renews police contract for a year


Perkasie Borough Council voted 7-0 to agree a one-year extension its police department contract after an executive session during its regular meeting July 1.

Councilman Steve Rose did not attend the meeting.

Changes to the contract include a 3.5 percent wage increase and a life insurance policy increase for officers from $45,000 to $250,000 per officer, borough officials said.

Changes to the police pension plan will also provide for a pre-retirement death benefit to a member of the collective bargaining agreement with 22 years of vested service. This change to the collective bargaining agreement would be retroactive to June 1, 2019, said Andrea Coaxum, Perkasie Borough manager.

The former plan required 24 years of vested service, Coaxum said.

The wages and life insurance changes to the contract will kick in after Jan. 1, 2020, Coaxum said.

“We are a community that needs to go through a grieving process,” Coaxum said during a phone interview after the sudden death of its long-time police chief.

Perkasie Borough Police Department Chief of Police Stephen Hillias died suddenly June 16. He was not on duty at the time of his death, and results from an autopsy have not yet been released.

During his tenure Hillias reinstated drug dropoff collection bins in the borough, added body cams to officers on patrol dash cams to squad cards, and added one K-9 dog officer to the department’s unit.

Detective Sergeant Russ Closs was named interim chief for what Coaxum said would be an undetermined period.

“He [Closs] was appointment by borough council and while we’ll go through a process for a new chief, it won’t begin before the fall,” Coaxum said.

In other news:

A public hearing is scheduled for Aug. 5 to consider a plan to change the zoning of two parcels at the former Shelly Lumber Yard, to allow residential townhouse development. No other details were available about the proposal.

Also on Aug. 5, a public hearing is scheduled to consider a conditional use application at 534 West Market St., to allow residential and mixed use development there.