Thursday, August 12, 1999

Township ponders how to fund police




BY DAVID ECK
Enquirer Contributor

        CLEARCREEK TOWNSHIP — What to do about the township's financially strapped police department and the second defeat in nine months of a police levy are expected to be hot topics at a township trustee meeting today.

        A 6-mill levy, defeated last week in unofficial results, 810-746, would have provided the department $1.2 million for operations. It needed 55 percent of the vote to pass.

        The same levy, and an additional 1.8-mill levy that would have collected $300,000 in taxes for the department, were defeated in November by a wider margin.

        The defeats leave the township of 9,500 residents with about $750,000 a year for police operations, said Township Administrator Dennis Pickett. But it is doubtful that amount can support the current department, especially now that three-year federal police grants are expiring or have expired.

        “We've kept pace with the growth of the community with some of those grants over the past few years,” he said. “It's arbitrarily let us keep pace. Hopefully, we can step back and passionately look at the facts.”

        Police officials have said they do not think the department can get by on $750,000 a

        year generated by two continuing levies.

        Options include eliminating some police services, laying off officers, putting a levy on the ballot for the third time, or disbanding the depart ment and contracting with the Warren County sheriff's office for police services.

        Mr. Pickett would not comment when asked whether township officials have been in discussions with the sheriff's office.

        The department is operating with a bare-bones staff, with two vacancies, an acting police chief, other officers searching for employment or set to leave, and a full-time officer on sick leave.

       



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