THE MAYOR’S REPORT: Crime scenes, Cocoa Crawl, EIT and police

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday and another mild day is being enjoyed in Greencastle. Yesterday was a very uplifting day for me as temperatures were again mild for February with limited wind. I want to tell you about my Saturday. Please grab some tea or coffee and join me as I’m getting ready for the big game tonight.

So, Saturday morning I attended a portion of significant and serious training at Rescue Hose Company for our emergency medical services, fire and rescue personnel. This course was about response to incidents that involve crime scenes, the safety of our responding personnel and crime scene preservation. Unfortunately, several memories mentally reappeared listening to the instructors. A special thank you to instructors Police Chief John Phillippy along with Jeff and Jordan Conner from the Franklin County Coroner’s Office.

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Later in the morning I attended many downtown Greencastle businesses participating in the Greencastle-Antrim High School Peer Leaders Cocoa Crawl to raise funds for the Greencastle Exchange Club’s youth programs. This was a partnership with peer leader students along with art and ceramics students. Beautiful art displays were viewed at all 14 businesses where you received hot chocolate and chocolate treats. Thanks to the students and business owners for supporting and participating in this wonderful program.

Greencastle Mayor Ben Thomas Jr.

As Greencastle’s appointed representative to the Franklin County Tax Bureau and Tax Collection Committee, I attended/participated in three meetings in January. The bureau will be moving from offices at the Chambersburg Area School District administrative building with a new location at 207 Grant St. in Chambersburg by May 1. Officers were re-elected for and will stay the same from their 2022 positions. Tracey Eberling of Warren Township will continue as chair. Earned income tax distributions for 2022 were reviewed. Greencastle received an increase of $106,268.56 compared to 2021 for a total of $698,161.08. Greencastle will also receive a portion of “unknown funds” for January 2023 totaling $4,800.38. Unknown funds include earned income taxes paid, however, that were unable to be categorized for which of the 23 municipalities and five school districts in Franklin County they would have been designated. Pennsylvania citizens who received “unearned income” primarily from Social Security and pension plans are not taxed by municipalities and school districts in Pennsylvania. Therefore, the commonwealth is an attractive state for retirees to move to.

What is Act 32? Act 32 is a law that streamlines and standardizes the local earned income tax system. Act 32 reduced Pennsylvania’s number of Earned Income Tax (EIT) collectors from 560 to 21. The appointment of collection responsibility falls on countywide committees made up of representatives from local municipalities and school districts. The committees established tax collection districts and elected tax officers to collect the EIT. Act 32 requires uniform withholding of earned income taxes and remittance to a single local collector or tax officer. The act applies to the earned income taxes levied and collected after Dec. 31, 2011. Appointed tax officers started collecting the EIT on Jan. 1, 2012.

I appreciate the hard work by members of Greencastle Police Department that includes getting handguns off the streets, arrests of catalytic converter theft suspects, response and investigations into overdose/cardiac arrest incidents, preparation and testimony in court for arrests initiated and working with crime victims and their families, mental health challenges and attempted suicides — getting citizens the help needed 24 hours a day under challenging and dangerous conditions.

So how much training does a Pennsylvania police officer need? Lots!  In the future, I’ll explain the “basic recruit academy training” requirements along with annual mandatory in-service training and a host of specialized training undertaken by our police officers.

Because of the aforementioned high school students here in G-A and their hard work, we are certainly blessed.