31 August 2008

YorkCounts E-Newsletter - August 2008

The YorkCounts E-Newsletter
found on the blog at yorkcounts.org
August 2008

In this issue:

  • Four more municipalities join public safety study committee
  • Indicators winnowed to 40 by busy YorkCounts group
  • From the Chairman: Thanking Reps. Mackereth and Nickol for their service

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Four more municipalities join public safety study committee

Two boroughs, a township and the City of York signed on this month to be a part of a regional public safety feasibility study being promoted by YorkCounts.

Mount Wolf and Manchester boroughs, East Manchester Township and the City joined West York Borough – whose council voted in July to participate – in signaling that studying the idea of a regional police force is worth the time.

YorkCounts Public Safety Committee Co-Chairs Carl Anderson and Dave Meckley are visiting numerous municipalities this summer and fall, seeking local government participation in a study – conducted by an independent consultant – to evaluate the merits of a multi-municipal, regional police department. The ten-minute presentations outline what YorkCounts is, what the study would consist of, who would conduct it (probably PERF – the Police Executive Research Forum), how much it would cost and what a timetable looks like.

Besides those municipalities that have opted in, presentations were made to Spring Garden Township and Springettsbury Township (in July) as well as North York and Red Lion boroughs and York and Windsor townships (in August).

Each municipality is appointing someone to serve on the panel that will oversee the study.

Public opinion has been seen as supportive. About 81 percent of those responding to a poll in late May said they would favor such research if regional policing would result in more efficient service or future cost avoidance.

A presentation that had been scheduled for Dallastown Borough was postponed because the borough council meeting was cancelled. At least two presentations are scheduled for September: one in Jackson Township and one before the body that oversees the Northern York County Regional Police Department.

Municipal elected officials or administrators with questions about the Public Safety Committee can reach YorkCounts Director James DeBord at 717/815-6436 or jdebord@ycp.edu.

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Indicators winnowed to 40 by busy YorkCounts group

The volunteer Committee of content area experts reshaping YorkCounts’ “Indicators” reporting has completed the first phase of its work, settling on 40 measurements aimed at assessing York County’s quality of life.

“We’re really pleased at the progress we’ve made so far,” said Indicators Committee Chairman Bob Woods. “The new list is grounded in reflecting the original interests of the hundreds of volunteers who participated in the first Indicators process in 2001, but it is improved with new information that did not exist at that time.”

The Indicators are a collection of data related to community, the economy, education, health and environment, public safety and housing and land use. The first slate featured 57 measurements; a 2006 update was slimmer because up-to-date data could not be found. With that in mind, the new Indicators Committee emphasized availability and reliability as criteria for inclusion.

“A lot of places are going through the same thing with their respective Indicators efforts as York County is right now,” said YorkCounts Director James DeBord. “We know more now than we did in 2001 about how statistics are updated and how these reports are used. Plus, so much more is being measured by institutions such as the U.S. Census Bureau. We would be remiss by not including data that will help us better understand our own community.”

Woods thanked members of the Committee, including Aeman Bashir, Felicia Dell, Beth Gill-MacDonald, Thomas Hensley, Vicki Klinedinst, Ellie Lamison, Joanne Riley and Robin Rohrbaugh. The group will take September off while YorkCounts staffers conduct research on each of the 40 Indicators. They’ll meet again in October to finalize a report to the YorkCounts Board of Directors, and the expectation is that the new report to the public will be released at the 2009 YorkCounts Summit next March or April.

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From the Chairman: Thanking Reps. Mackereth and Nickol for their service
by Eric Menzer

On behalf of the nearly two dozen people from across York County who comprise the Board of YorkCounts, I would like to offer our best wishes to State Representatives Bev Mackereth and Steve Nickol on their recent decisions to leave the Legislature – Rep. Nickol to retire and Rep. Mackereth to join York County government this December. These two strong advocates for our area are applauded for their tireless service and trademark emphasis on working together with other legislators and with organizations in the community toward finding solutions.

Both Rep. Mackereth and Rep. Nickol have supported YorkCounts. Rep. Nickol has a widely known and deserved reputation as one of the sharpest minds in Pennsylvania government and has always been willing to lend his policy expertise to our discussions. And whether it was her continual commitment to meet with YorkCounts volunteers or her ability to deliver funding for the first-ever York County education costing-out study, Rep. Mackereth has been a true public servant.

We hope that the individuals who are chosen by the voters to replace these two will demonstrate the same willingness to work across lines - whether geographic, political or philosophical – toward making our community a better place.

Bev and Steve are wished all the best.

(A version of this letter appeared in the August 9, 2008 York Daily Record.)

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The YorkCounts E-Newsletter is written by Beau Boughamer. Reach YorkCounts by mail c/o the Center for Community Engagement at York College of Pennsylvania, 605 South George Street, Suite 160, York, PA 17401, by telephone at 717/815-6430 or by e-mail at yorkcounts@gmail.com. Visit YorkCounts online at yorkcounts.org.