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July 27, 2015

Bucks County town declares state of emergency for papal visit

Middletown seeks to ease reimbursement for expenses associated with crowd safety

A Bucks County municipality decided to declare a state of emergency for the pope's visit to Philadelphia, according to the Bucks County Courier Times

Middletown Township's Board of Supervisors proposed the state of emergency to make it easier for local government to be reimbursed by the federal government for expenses associated with Pope Francis' visit, the paper said. The state of emergency will run from Sept. 25 to 28 to coincide with Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia on Sept. 26 and 27. The pontiff is expected to attract about 1.5 million visitors to Philadelphia.

Thousands of visitors those two days will board SEPTA regional rail trains at the Woodbourne station at 903 Woodbourne Road for the ride into Center City.

That crush of commuters is expected to have a major impact on the train station and nearby roads, according to Joseph Bartorilla, the township's police chief.

“As of right now, this event has been classified in a way federally that allows no federal reimbursement for any expenses a municipality incurs as a result of the pope’s visit,” Bartorilla told the newspaper. With an emergency declaration, the town hopes its chances of recouping police and related expenses improves.

A state of emergency is traditionally declared in the aftermath of a major, costly event like a natural disaster. When one is declared, federal funds often go to helping residents recover.

You can read more about the board’s decision here.