New era for emergency services Three candidates being considered for first paid administrator position

By on August 28, 2013

By:

GARY P. KLINGER Record Express Correspondent

, Staff Writer

The Warwick Emergency Services Alliance, or WESA, took one step closer to no longer existing.

Sort of.

At the Aug. 21 meeting of the Warwick Township Supervisors, leaders voted unanimously to support the group’s official charter change from being an alliance to creating the new Warwick Emergency Services Commission. This is one of several necessary steps before the change becomes official.

"The change is (that) the commission is a formal board made up of one representative from each municipality and one rep from each fire company and Warwick Ambulance," explained township manager Dan Zimmerman. "There is also one citizen representative."

The change comes as the group continues to move forward with the process of hiring its first paid, full-time administrator.

"The changes make the alliance more formal with greater coordination and ability to reach goals," he added.

Zimmerman explained what such a commission would mean to those living within the organization’s service area.

"The goal for the average citizen is to keep the volunteer system of emergency response alive, a huge savings to each taxpayer," said Zimmerman. "The other goals are to strive toward a standard for emergency service delivery based on a volunteer system (and the) coordination of fund drives."

Funding of emergency services has remained a huge issue. Zimmerman pointed out that the change will help address this by grouping all parties together under one umbrella.

Warwick Township joins Elizabeth Township in having ratified the change. Lititz Borough Council is expected to vote on the measure at its Aug. 27 meeting. Once ratified by all three member municipalities, the change will take effect in September.

"All three municipalities had to adopt a revised or amended inter-municipal cooperative agreement," Zimmerman said. "This change was also recommended by the strategic plan that was done in 2011. A large group of volunteers worked on that plan."

At last week’s meeting, Zimmerman updated supervisors on the process of hiring WESA’s first paid administrator. The group charged with screening and selection of the coordinator has now set up a first round of interviews, having narrowed the rather considerable field of applicants down to three.

In other township news, supervisors considered maintenance needed on the Warwick Township administration building at 315 Clay Road. Work is needed to repair the Dryvit at the gabled ends of the building. Supervisors questioned code and zoning officer Tom Zorbaugh, who is overseeing the process, on which path made the most sense.

The Dryvit has developed cracks and normal wear and tear. It has been in place since the building was constructed 24 years ago. It could be patched, but of concern is the condition of the structure beneath. Contractors contacted to look at the job have advised tearing it off, addressing any structural issues which could be concealed, then applying new siding.

But several options exist regarding what’s next for the structure. New Dryvit could be applied, as could German bead vinyl siding or clap boards. Zorbaugh is recommending that bids on various material options be considered in the process.

"I would recommend tearing it off to get a better look at what’s under there," he noted.

Supervisor Tony Chivinski agreed.

"Lets do it right," said Chivinski. "If we have to spend a bit more to do it right than to save a few bucks, that makes sense."

Zorbaugh also pointed out that initial pricing, which was in the range of $12,000 did not include any attention to the dormers. He explained that with the way the dormers are flashed into the roofing, additional work to them would be a significantly bigger undertaking. And due to the scope of such a project, the cost would require the township to entertain at least three quotes.

Zimmerman agreed that he wanted to keep the building properly maintained, but added that he also wanted any work to be sensitive to the historical feel of the building and surrounding community. He said he would like to at least see the pricing for the clapboard option to best blend into the area.

"Clapboard may not be that much more than vinyl," agreed Chairman Logan Myers.

Supervisor Herb Flosdorf likened the consideration on the township building to any decision he would make on his own home.

"If this was my house," he said, "I’d take the Dryvit off and put good siding on. Whatever we choose to do, we should be done with this for a number of years."

More WARWICK TWP., page A3