Friday, November 5, 2004

Police, fire levy losses mean cuts for Delhi

By Kevin Aldridge
Enquirer staff writer

DELHI TWP. - The defeat of police and fire levies in this township of 30,000 has left trustees with tough budget choices.

Trustee Mike Davis said the township might have to lay off some of its 55 part-time and 23 full-time firefighters and leave three vacant positions in the Police Department unfilled. He said trustees are also considering reduced staffing at two of its three firehouses and relocating all fire apparatus to the main station on Neeb Road.

"This is new territory for all of us," Davis said. "We're doing what the voters have mandated. It's a tough road to go, but we're going to do what we were elected to do."

On Tuesday, voters resoundingly defeated a 3.77-mill police levy and a 4.55-mill fire levy. The levies - which would have raised property taxes by $245 a year on a $100,000 house - lost by more than 2,100 votes each.

The levies - which would have generated $3.73 million - would have been the first for the township in 11 years.

Davis said trustees will hold a special meeting at 2 p.m. Monday to discuss a timetable for potential cuts. He said cuts would not be limited to the police and fire departments.

"It breaks my heart, but I'm capable of making tough decisions," Trustee Al Duebber said.

Duebber said it is unlikely that trustees would come back to voters with two more levies in February. He said at this point the township can't afford to fund another campaign.

"When the public sees we are serious, they are going to demand that we put a levy back on the ballot," Duebber said.

The township has been subsidizing the police and fire department budgets since 1997. Township officials said they can no longer sustain the added costs.


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