With no police levy, ‘hard choices’ await Boardman
By Ashley Luthern
Officials say the failure of a police levy will mean restructuring throughout the township.
“Something we’ll have to think about is what services citizens really want and how best to run the township with the money that we’re receiving right now,” said Administrator Jason Loree.
Voters rejected a 3.85-mill, five-year additional levy for police services with 8,473 against and 8,043 for. The levy would have brought in an estimated $3.7 million annually, and trustees had said before the election that levy passage would expedite their goal of adding 10 officers to the force in five years, bringing the total to 57.
“We have a divided community,” Loree said. “Half wanted more police and half didn’t — or couldn’t afford it. There’s a lot of people that are looking for us to do more, and we can’t do that right now.”
He added that personnel costs are the largest expense for the township, and officials are developing a strategy to move forward with the four upcoming collective-bargaining agreements.
“Hard choices will have to be made,” Loree said.
Police Chief Jack Nichols said he thought the levy failure was more a sign of the economy, not a reflection of the department.
He pointed to a food- distribution day in August at the Covelli Centre.
“The people in line all day long weren’t just poor people,” he said. “It was people ... who lost their jobs, had their homes foreclosed and cars repossessed. There’s a lot of that in our community.”
In 2008, 62.8 percent of township voters approved a 2.2-mill police and fire levy.