Familiar face returns to Warwick Twp. Police

By on July 28, 2011

By: GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent, Staff Writer



Ed TobinEd Tobin

Ed Tobin is returning to work for the Warwick Township Police Department.

Well, sort of.

During the July 20 supervisors meeting, Warwick Township offered Tobin an independent contract to administer the police department until a new police chief could be found, placed and trained.

Tobin, a veteran township police officer, was Warwick’s interim police chief earlier this year, but he retired from the position in order to run for district judge in the primary election, which he won. He will be on the general election ballot in November.

"This is on a part-time basis through the transition period," explained supervisor chairman W. Logan Myers. "It offers Ed an hourly fee and will be in effect until approximately the end of November. We have the option to terminate the agreement sooner if his services are no longer needed, but this is strictly an interim step while we wrap up the search for a new police chief."

Warwick has not had a permanent police chief since the retirement of Rich Garipoli in early 2010.

In other business, township leaders held a brief public hearing to consider an ordinance which would amend the current zoning ordinance. The newly proposed ordinance would define terms and specify regulations permitting principal and accessory renewable energy systems, and establish performance standards for principal and accessory uses.

Township manager Daniel Zimmerman said the ordinance distinguishes between primary use (residential) and accessory use, typically associated with commercial applications. In the course of the three drafts, a wide array of professionals were consulted for input and guidance, including installers of solar power units, engineers of geothermal systems, county planning officials and the county commissioners. Township leaders also carefully reviewed DEP regulations on the matter, as well as ordinances already in place at six other municipalities.

"We modeled our ordinance after theirs, almost like a ‘cut and paste’ in order to afford a degree of consistency," explained Zimmerman. "This technology is changing rapidly."

Zimmerman noted that a group from the township had recently visited a site using an advanced anaerobic manure digester and conceded that the new ordinance will likely require regular, periodic review to assure it is kept up to date in light of new developments and innovations.

"Should we just automatically schedule a review every six to 12, or even 24 months?" asked supervisor Michael Vigunas. "For instance, I see solar panels being a lot like the early computers and other electronic equipment which will get smaller and more affordable over time."

Zimmerman agreed that this was a sound suggestion, adding that manufacturers have already developed solar shingles that could one day replace huge solar panels, greatly affecting the aesthetics associated with such systems. He also added that the township would carefully monitor field reports and plans submitted through zoning officer Tom Zorbaugh.

Resident and regular supervisor meeting attendee Nelson Peters questioned supervisors on whether the new ordinance would address existing properties or just contractors coming to the area to develop alternative energy. Zimmerman said it would address both.

Later, after the hearing, the ordinance was unanimously approved, with Vigunas adding a provision for the new ordinance to be reviewed every six months.

During his manager’s report, Zimmerman updated supervisors on a number of ongoing projects and initiatives.

Budget: Zimmerman noted that fuel was a lot less expensive when the township adopted the current budget. However, in spite of this, he said the township is about where projected to be by this time of the year, and perhaps a bit better year to date than last year.

Police Regionalization Effort: Zimmerman noted that the selection of a chief is currently the highest priority. He added that revisions to the charter continue to proceed. He added that regional collective bargaining would need to start no later than August.

Fire Services Study: Zimmerman said the study was underway to analyze the level of service provided against demand on volunteers and the budget. Lititz Borough and Elizabeth Township have also joined the study.

Highlands Drive Project: Zimmerman updated supervisors that this project may be about to clear its final hurdle. Township officials are awaiting the final federal highway administration dollar amount for the project, with hopes of having that figure by the end of August.

"This project has not been sitting still," commented Zimmerman, pointing out that "No public funds have been used, but the funds of the developer have been used to keep clearances moving forward. All the grunt work is done. We hope to have this out to bid by end of year, with construction to start in the spring of 2012 if NHA funds come through."

Owl Hill Road Project: Zimmerman expects completion of the Owl Hill / 501 project by Aug. 6, with minor work on Owl Hill Road, such as the curve alignment, to commence soon after the current project is complete. This is in hopes that both projects will not be running concurrently. The secondary project is expected to take two weeks to complete.

Route 772 in Rothsville: Zimmerman said that major work on 772 in Rothsville is to start on Aug. 1, with real construction to be underway by Aug. 8. Plans for the project include milling the road, with completion hopefully by the end of November. Zimmerman added that this is PennDOT project.

Millway Bridge Project: With the steel girders now in place, Zimmerman said township officials have communicated with PennDOT and the contractor about getting the bridge done prior to the 772 / Rothsville project so that it will be less challenging to drivers.

In his police department report, Sgt. Richard A. Rhineer reported to supervisors on the DUI check point which was conducted on June 25 on 1000 block of Lititz Pike. During that period, police made one DUI and one drug arrest, along with numerous traffic issues.

Rhineer also noted that one Warwick Township officer had been sworn in to service on the computer task force set up by District Attorney Craig Steadman. The purpose of the task force is to monitor computer activity for possible child pornography offenses. The Warwick Township officer participates in task force activities when his schedule allows to deal with computer scans and sex offenders. Zimmerman lead supervisors in congratulating Rhineer on orchestrating a smooth transition following Tobin’s retirement. He thanked not only Rhineer, but also the entire police force for all that had been done to make sure excellent service continued in the interim. More WARWICK TWP., page A3