Austintown officials seek replacement levy
By Elise Franco
Township trustees say they hope voters will support a 2.0-mill replacement police levy that will appear on the March ballot.
Trustees Lisa Oles and Jim Davis voted Monday in special session to place the levy on the ballot. Trustee David Ditzler wasn’t present for the meeting.
Fiscal Officer Michael Kurish said the levy, which would raise approximately $1.1 million annually for five years, is a replacement for the 1.6-mill police levy that originally was approved by voters in 1976.
Kurish said the current levy is collecting only about 38 percent of its original value or about $357,000 annually.
“This levy will be used for the police department, primarily, to offset losses that will come as a result of the state’s budget cuts,” he said. “Right now the police department’s funding is subsidized by our general fund.”
If approved, the new levy would cost the owner of a $100,000 home an additional $10 to $12 per month. Those homeowners pay about $50 per month on the current levy, which would make the new tax total about $60 per month. Kurish said the levy request will be filed with the Mahoning County Board of Elections by the Wednesday deadline.
Davis said he expects that residents will understand the need to fund the police department and be receptive.
“Our voters believe in what we do here in Austintown,” he said. “We’ve been fiscally responsible. ... And residents have no reason to believe that we would ask for this money if we didn’t need it.”
Davis said he doesn’t think the passing of a 0.5-mill Senior Services levy in November will have much bearing on whether people vote for the police levy.
“People realize there’s money needed for different things,” he said. “Residents think highly of our police department.”