McDonald police will continue providing coverage to nearby Midway, under a five-year contract renewal that both Washington County borough councils approved Monday night.
Under the agreement, services stay the same -- including patrolling and responding to calls -- while the annual cost increases by 3 percent each year.
The agreement contains a new clause requiring Midway to pay for police vehicle fuel costs above $4 per gallon.
Both councils approved the contract in unanimous votes.
"We're very satisfied with the service and the professionalism, so we're going to continue for the next five years with McDonald," Midway Mayor Karen Bartosh said.
Police Chief Mark Dorsey said sharing law enforcement services with Midway has been successful.
"It's been a very excellent relationship between the two municipalities," he said.
The chief said he added the fuel clause to protect McDonald from any spikes in gas prices.
The towns initially had signed an 18-month agreement in June 2011.
This year's cost was $51,000.
According to the new contract, the base cost for police services will be $52,530 in 2013; $54,105 in 2014; $55,729 in 2015; $57,400 in 2016; and $59,122 in 2017.
Chief Dorsey said having a long-term contract allows both parties to budget better.
Midway, a 0.4-square-mile borough with about 1,000 residents, is a few miles west of McDonald, a 1-square-mile borough that spans Allegheny and Washington counties and has about 2,300 residents.
McDonald council also voted Monday to advertise for a fourth full-time police position, as funded in this year's budget.
The chief, a sergeant and a code enforcement officer currently work full time. The department also employs about a dozen part-time officers.
Mayor Terry Bennett said the additional full-time officer is needed largely because of the department's contracts to provide police services to three Washington County communities -- Midway, Robinson and Burgettstown.
McDonald officials previously said the borough's police contracts, a form of public safety regionalization, played a major part in the borough being able to avoid a tax increase this year.
It appears the same will be true next year.
Council voted Monday to advertise a $965,206 budget for 2013 that holds the overall property tax rate at 40.75 mills for the fourth year. Final adoption is scheduled for Dec. 3.
The borough's annual contribution to Heritage Public Library was increased from about $5,250 to $7,000 a year, finance chairman Pat Powell said.
A half-mill of tax revenue was taken from debt service and assigned instead to the fire department, mainly to expand the paid firefighter job from part time to full time.
Mr. Powell said the borough has received $20,000 from natural gas impact fees but has not decided yet how to spend the money.
In other business, John Hofrichter is set to replace Jeffrey Watson as McDonald's attorney.
Mr. Watson resigned Monday as borough solicitor because he recently was named an administrative law judge assigned to the Public Utility Commission.
The state requires he divest himself of other legal services contracts, he said.
Council voted 7-0 to accept Mr. Watson's resignation and to appoint Mr. Hofrichter. Each lawyer heads a law firm in Washington County.
Andrea Iglar, freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.