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St. Clair Township supervisors discuss possible increase for fire coverage

| Friday, Oct. 5, 2012, 12:17 a.m.

St. Clair Township supervisors discussed the possibility of an increase to the annual payment for fire coverage from the New Florence and Seward fire departments at the September meeting. Since the municipality has no volunteer fire department, it relies on the two neighboring towns for fire coverage.

The township joins other municipalities throughout the region facing similar decisions as they decide how to deal with higher insurance costs because of legislation signed into law by Gov. Tom Corbett last year.

The new law enables volunteer firefighters to collect benefits if they develop cancer after being exposed to carcinogens at fire scenes. The Firefighters Cancer Prevention Act designates cancer as an occupational disease for paid and volunteer firefighters. A firefighter who serves for at least four years has as long as 11½ years after leaving service to file a claim.

Solicitor Judith Ciszek said the fire departments will not renew their workmen's compensation insurance because the new legislation now makes the premiums too costly to afford.

Ciszek said the fire companies will have to use the State Workers Insurance Fund for the coverage since it will most likely not be offered by private insurance companies.

Resident Tom Custer asked if tax monies are coming in regularly and if the council might see the need to raise taxes. Chairman Jim Caldwell added that the council is not considering increasing taxes at this time.

In other news:

• Vice-Chairman Richard Hill Sr. said the township building needs a new roof.

• Police Chief Michael Fusco reported the force worked 128 duty hours in August. Three non-traffic citations were given along with five written warnings. The department answered 25 calls and $98.10 was received from Magistrate Denise Thiel's office.

• Supervisors approved car insurance in the amount of $300 for the old police vehicle that is currently being used as a local reminder to slow down as it is moved and parked around the community.

• Halloween for the community is 6 to 8 p.m. Oct. 31. Supervisors also designated 2 to 4 p.m. Sept. 28 as an additional Trick-or-Treat day to co-inside with New Florence's Halloween celebration.

Alice White is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.