Cops ok’d for New Milford

BY STACI WILSON

A contract lapse left New Milford Borough without police coverage since the first day of the year.

But police service – provided by the Montrose department – will likely soon return to the town.

Montrose Borough Council approved a two-year contract renewal at its Monday, Jan. 20 meeting. Now New Milford’s council will need to approve it before the contract can go into effect.

New Milford Council liaison to the police, Teri Gulick, attended the Montrose meeting, accompanied by two of her fellow council members Rick Ainey and Donna Cosmello.

Gulick told the Montrose council members that New Milford has been very pleased with the service provided to the town since 2008.

“It’s been working, and working well,” Gulick said.

She also said that prior to this year, there had been no interruption in police coverage even with earlier contracts approved by Montrose in January and New Milford in February.

“We’ve never before been with no police,” she said, “and it’s never been publicized that we were without police.”

Gulick told council that after a conversation with Montrose Chief Dale Smith in late summer, she believed there was still another year left on the contract.

Smith told council that the officers on the borough force had no objections to continuing to cover the neighboring borough and he agreed with Gulick that the arrangement had been working well.

Council President Tom Lamont said, “I’m content,” a reverse on his position at the earlier January meeting where he expressed his general opposition to extending police services.

Montrose Council voted to renew the contract with New Milford – keeping the current per hour charge of $27.

New Milford Council will now have to vote on the contract before police patrols can resume in the borough.

In other borough business, Jeff Kyle of DGK Insurance provided an update to Montrose Council. The borough’s policy is set to renew on March 1 .
He also provided an overview of changes to the workers’ compensation insurance, including the hefty increase the borough will see due to the Firefighter Cancer Presumption Act.

The legislation allows paid and volunteer firefighters that develop cancer within 12 years of being exposed to a Class 1 carcinogen to make a workers’ compensation claim, Kyle explained.

The insurance rep said the law has “effectively shut the market down.”
Regular borough employees will continued to be covered under the existing workers’ comp policy; volunteer firefighters coverage will be written through the State Workers Insurance Fund (SWIF) – a fund underwritten by state tax dollars, it was explained.

Kyle said claims are just starting to roll in and “rates will continue to go up,” he warned council.