Baden Councilman Michael Stuban said the first step is to approve a feasibility study. Stuban said the entire study process could take eight months before results are ready.
“We could know by the end of the year,” he said.
Baden, Ambridge, Harmony and Conway are all participating members of the Beaver County Regional Council of Governments, which is helping to facilitate the process.
The four municipalities will start out by voting at upcoming meetings in February or March to adopt a letter of intent. The letter will be sent to the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development requesting that a consultant be assigned.
COG will package the letters on behalf of the communities and submit them to DCED. COG will also help with scheduling a review process in Harrisburg and forming a joint study steering committee with representation from each municipality.
Stuban said Economy was sent a letter to participate as well, but did not respond. He said representatives plan to retry to see if Economy might be interested.
Economy Mayor David Poling told Ambridge Connection that they have never been contacted, but have looked into merging services with Conway in the past.
Baden Councilman Robert Besong said there have been discussions about consolidation going back 20 years and it “was shot down every time.”
“I was not interested in joining any other police department or combining any other police department,” Besong said.
Mayor Samuel Gagliardi told council Monday he didn’t feel that Stuban properly informed Baden officials about a meeting that was held in November at the courthouse. Stuban, however, said council was aware he was attending and it was brought up at the December meeting.
“We're not consolidating until we know where everything stands. It’s just to proceed and go forward," Stuban said, "and if there’s no savings, I don’t believe anybody on this council is going to vote for it.”
Council President Judith Montell said she's all for looking at options, but feels the board will need input from residents before deciding whether to combine police services.
“I just feel that you would have to have the input of the residents of Baden before you would make some kind of a ruling that affects everyone in this town,” Montell told council. "But I don't have any problem with investigating it if we can prove it would be an improvement."
Each community will take action in December on whether to accept or reject the findings in conjunction with their final 2015 budget meetings.
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