205 South Callowhill Street
Topton, Pennsylvania 19562
610 - 682 - 2541

Welcome to Topton!

About The Borough of Topton

In 1754, Berks County became incorporated. Settlers lived in "long swamp". Farms were found to be underlaid with iron ore and as many as 100 mines opened in  the area. Villages and hamlets were established and the area became known as "Longswamp" in 1761. In 1854, the Allentown Railroad Company constructed a railroad from Allentown to join the Philadelphia and Reading Railroad.

In 1859, the East Penn Railroad was extended from Reading to Allentown. On May 19th of that year, Judge George Stitzel, while inspecting the railroad, suggested to the community at the highest elevation be called Topton. In February 1876, the Borough of Topton was created. Topton, located in the northeast corner of Berks County, is surrounded by Longswamp Township, except for a small corner which is adjacent to Maxatawny Township. The population according to a 2010 census is 2,069.

Animal Control Services Update

             Recently, there has been much discussion in the community and in the Reading Eagle regarding the Borough's relationship with the Animal Rescue League (ARL). The Animal Rescue League is a non-profit that had provided the Borough with animal control services for dogs and cats. These services include the intake of stray animals, animal cruelty investigations, and veterinary services as well as others. In return for these services, the Borough made an annual contribution of $1,000.00 as recently as December of 2017.

               In a letter from September of 2018, ARL wrote to inform the Borough that they would no longer offer animal control services to the Borough unless a contract was agreed to. As of today, there were two options available to us. The first was a fee for services model, which we projected to cost the Borough approximately $2,000-3,000, but offered little control or clarity in regards to the billing running the risk of that amount being much higher. The second option was a $2.00 per-capita charge, which was projected to cost approximately $4,138. Importantly, ARL shared that the per capita charge model would only be available for 2019 but going forward a municipality would need to engage in a multi-year fee for service contract.

               At the time this notification was issued, the Borough had been in the budget process for a few weeks.  Beyond the measure that the Borough of Topton averages less than one occurrence of assistance by the ARL annually though our office.   This created significant administrative hurdles to include these unforeseen expenses and added to ever-increasing costs for other vital municipal services such as public works or roadwork. The Borough Council directed staff to investigate the issue but made no commitments to enter into a contract with ARL. The Borough sought clarity around several issues including the fee structure, the invoicing structure, the financial condition of ARL, the data being used to estimate anticipated fees, the scope of the services offered, as well as legal concerns around the proposed contract.

               The Borough's desire to seek clarity around these issues is consistent with our commitment to handle every resident’s tax dollars responsibly. Unfortunately, where we sought clarity only more questions and concerns were brought to light. The Borough identified significant issues with the proposed contract. Among them, ARL had proposed to charge on the basis of the zip code where an animal was brought from. However municipalities may have several zip codes and that zip code may not be where the animal is owned. This could incur costs on the Borough for an animal that was found or is owned in another municipality.

               Furthermore, ARL has not disclosed important financial information that is required for similar organizations that municipalities contract with. The financial projections made by ARL for each municipality does not include source material. ARL will not respond to situations regarding vicious dogs, which is a requirement for municipalities under state law; this leaves this crucial service to the Dog Warden or the State Police.

               These concerns have been raised to ARL. Unfortunately, they have not been responsive to requests for more information and have, in most cases, been unwilling to amend their proposed contracts for municipal concerns. While it is possible these issues could be resolved, ARL has placed pressure on municipalities to comply with their desires in timeframes that have been unrealistic for the Borough to work within. For these reasons, the Borough Council has not signed a contract with ARL, because of this they will no longer provide residents with most animal control services.

              ARL has promised to continue investigating claims of animal abuse without expense to the Borough, which we are grateful for. However, if residents take animals to ARL’s shelter, they will be turned away and forwarded to the Borough. This transition will take place on January 31st, 2019.

               In order to explore alternative methods to these services, the Borough will participate in a search for another contract with the Berks County Cooperative Purchasing Council. The governing body has final say as to whether the Borough will participate in another contract, but this search will offer more options for the Borough Council to consider.

             Other options for services that you or your community may need can be provided by various local organizations. These include No Nonsense Neutering, which offers to safely neuter wild cats; Facebook groups, including Berks Dog Search, where lost pets may be posted, which oftentimes have good results; dogs may also be brought to local shelters, including the Humane Society for a small donation.

            This interruption of services is regrettable, and we are thankful for the work that the Animal Rescue League has done on behalf of our community. The path moving forward is not completely clear, but our interest is serving the Borough residents in the best ways possible. We will continue to do that as we seek out more alternatives for these services.  We thank you for your understanding during this time.

Winter Newsletter

Winter Happenings - Check out our 2019 Winter Happenings Newsletter for the latest information! 

Discount Bear Creek Tickets

The Borough in conjunction with the Pennsylvania Recreation and Parks Society is selling DISCOUNTED ski lift tickets to Bear Creek Mountain Resort. These are actual vouchers, not coupons, and are good through the 2018-19 season. Buy your tickets now and save money! Ticket supplies are limited. Contact toptonrec@ptd.net or visit the office for more information.

Spotted Lanternfly Information

Please click here for more information regarding the Spotted Lanternfly.

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Office Hours

Monday - Thursday:
8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

Friday:
8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Upcoming Events

Council Meeting
Time: 19:00:00
The Borough of Topton will hold it's monthly public meeting for the purpose of conducting general business.
Council Meeting
Time: 19:00:00
The Borough of Topton will hold it's monthly public meeting for the purpose of conducting general business.
Council Meeting
Time: 19:00:00
The Borough of Topton will hold it's monthly public meeting for the purpose of conducting general business.