Boardman trustees weigh options after police levy fails
By Ashley Luthern
After an additional police levy failed last week, trustees say they are considering all options to keep the township in the black for 2011 — including returning a federal grant to hire two police officers.
The 3.85-mill, five-year additional levy for police services would have brought in an estimated $3.7 million annually but was rejected by 430 votes.
“We all felt like we’d been kicked in the stomach,” said Trustee Tom Costello.
Two police officers were expected to be sworn in this month after the township was awarded a one-time $413,148 federal grant that will provide the officers’ starting salary for three years. The grant, however, stipulates that the township pay for a fourth year.
Returning the grant “is one option that no one wants to have to execute,” said Trustee Larry Moliterno at the board’s regular meeting Monday.
Officials also are contemplating methods to curb personnel costs, which are the largest expense for the township.
“I think there’s potential for” layoffs, said Trustee Brad Calhoun.
The trustees did go into executive session at Monday’s meeting to discuss collective bargaining with the township employees’ unions.
Calhoun added that trustees should decide on these options within two months. By then, he said, the fiscal office should have an accurate prediction for the township’s 2011 revenue.
At the meeting, one resident said that people were confused during voting.
“Many people told me they had difficulty seeing [the police levy] on the ballot,” said Patty Marsico of Boardman, who was an observer at a polling location.
She suggested a bold headline on the levy should the trustees put it on the ballot again.
Administrator Jason Loree said state law requires that standard language be used on the ballot and that the placement depends on the number of other issues voters have to decide.
Trustees would not say Monday whether they will put the levy on the May ballot but conceded that, too, is an option.
“My personal opinion, and I’m not speaking for the entire board, is that we need it, and we need the additional revenue,” Calhoun said.
In other business, township leaf pickup begins Monday and runs until Dec. 3. Each street will receive a weekly pickup of paper-bagged leaves. To check the leaf pickup schedule, go to http://www.boardmantwp.com/road/road_roadinfo_fall.asp.