MAHONING COUNTY Canfield Twp. to talk to sheriff on patrols
It would cost $72,000 annually to have one deputy patrol the township.
By IAN HILL
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
CANFIELD -- Township Trustee Paul Moracco expects to meet with Mahoning County Sheriff Randall Wellington in the near future to negotiate for law enforcement protection for the township.
Trustees unanimously approved a resolution Monday night calling for Moracco to negotiate to have deputy sheriffs patrol the township.
Wellington has said he does not have the money to continue patrols in the county's rural areas, and he is laying off deputies because voters defeated the 0.5-percent county sales tax renewal last Tuesday.
Trustee Judy Bayus said residents are "very nervous" that ending sheriff's patrols could increase crime in their neighborhoods.
"I know people in the township are very anxious to know [if] the township trustees will be providing them" with law enforcement protection, Bayus said.
Moracco said he plans to call the sheriff today to schedule negotiations. He noted that Wellington has estimated that trustees would have to pay the county $72,000 annually for the services of a deputy with a cruiser.
Wellington also has said that it would take about five deputies to provide the township with year-round, 24-hour law enforcement protection, Moracco said. Bayus said the township could use some of the money it has set aside for capital projects to pay for the deputies.
Not covered by city
The township is not covered by the Canfield city police department.
Moracco said trustees discussed contracting with the Canfield city police department for law enforcement protection four or five years ago, but at the time, they were told by city officials that the contract would cost the township about $1 million annually.
City officials could not be reached to comment.
Trustee Bill Reese also has said that creating a township police department would be costly.
By paying the sheriff's office for law enforcement protection, the township also can save the jobs of deputies who might otherwise be laid off, Moracco said. He also noted that Canfield Township was one of five Mahoning County communities to vote to approve the sales tax renewal.
Deputy patrols in the township had been based out of the sheriff's satellite station, located in the former township garage behind township hall. Two deputies typically have been in the satellite station.
Trustees are spending $104,000 in township and county sales tax money on a renovation project for that building.
Wellington has said he will have to pull the deputies from the satellite station because of the layoffs and budget constraints. Trustees have said that if the sheriff stops using the satellite station, they will use the space for township offices and that renovations will continue.
After Monday's meeting, Moracco said he was surprised that Bayus was so vocal in her support for negotiating with the sheriff's office, as Bayus had abstained in a vote on a township proclamation supporting the sales tax renewal.
"Here she is very upbeat on police protection, yet she didn't support the sales tax," Moracco said.