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Deciding the fate of a police levy

Published: Fri, February 25, 2011 @ 12:01 a.m.


By Ashley Luthern



Boardman would join the ranks of other large Ohio townships that fund law enforcement almost exclusively through a police levy — if the issue remains on the May ballot and if voters say yes.

Township trustees have said they will take the 3.85-mill, five-year additional police levy off the ballot if the township’s insurance committee does not approve a change in the health-insurance-plan design. The committee votes on the changes this morning.

In 2008, voters approved a 2.2-mill safety levy for both police and fire. Boardman voters also approved a police district in the 1970s which included a continuing levy that now generates about $1.5 million annually.

The new levy on the May ballot would be designated for the police department and would generate about $3.7 million annually, if approved. It would cost the owner of a home valued at $100,000 an additional $116.80 annually.

Boardman’s police budget is $7 million of a $16 million township budget. Officials have said previously that if the levy is approved, the general fund dollars going to the police department will be scaled back, possibly by $2 million, but the police budget will still increase overall to about $8.6 million. The amount returned to the general fund would be used to maintain township services.

Most of the state’s big townships are in southwest Ohio. Of the 10 largest townships, Boardman is one of two without a dedicated police levy. The other is Anderson in Hamilton County, which also has a combined police and fire levy. Marion Township is in the top 10, but does not have a police department or police budget.

Boardman trustees have said that specific levies empower voters, and that’s a sentiment echoed by township officials around the state.

“We must put on what people want or they won’t vote for it. They are not voting for general purpose levies, and they are not voting for park levies in my opinion,” said Kevin T. Celarek, Green Township administrator.

Green Township is also in Hamilton County and has a police budget of $4.3 million, funded through a police levy and a public-safety levy, Celarek said. The township has 33 township officers and contracts for 12 deputies from the county, he said.

Anderson Township borders the eastern part of Cincinnati and has a population of about 45,000.

Anderson contracts with the Hamiliton County Sheriff’s Office for law enforcement within township limits, said Administrator Vicky Earhart.

“Of the 35 deputies assigned to [the area], the township contracts for 25 of those deputies. We have budgeted $2.5 million for the contract,” she said.

Anderson has a public-safety levy that generates funds to support police and fire services.

Boardman, like Green, has 45 sworn officers. In Boardman this number is down from a high of 63 officers in 2006. West Chester Township in Butler County has the most officers — 88 — of the 10 largest Ohio townships and has a population of 54,895.

The police department “is primarily funded through a police levy voted on by our taxpayers in West Chester and small bits of money from other sources. The police budget is $14.8 million, and of that, salaries of officers account for $8.8 million,” said Barbara Wilson, the township’s public information officer.

In Austintown Township, with about 38,000 people, the force has shrunk over the years, from 45 sworn officers in 2002 to 37 now. The police department has its own levy and about a $5 million budget — $4.1 million coming from specific levy revenues and $900,000 from the general fund, said Administrator Michael Dockry.

“Since I’ve been here, [the levies] have never been sufficient to support either the fire department and police department,” Dockry said.

Dockry recalled a police levy in 1994 that failed, but said the police and fire levies have been overwhelmingly successful.

“People really don’t want to pass general fund levies. I think they want a better idea how their money is going to be spent,” he said.

Boardman had 48 instances of violent crime in 2009, compared to 17 in Austintown and 73 in West Chester, according to FBI crime statistics. Data was not available online from Anderson and Green townships, and 2010 data has not been compiled yet.

Those same statistics show 73 reported incidents of violent crime in Boardman in 2008. The 2008 numbers for rape, robbery, motor vehicle theft and burglary are higher than numbers for 2009 — but that can be misleading, said Police Chief Jack Nichols.

For example, with fewer officers on patrol, police are missing crimes they would have caught on the road, Nichols said. “It does not mean that crime is down.”

The number of all incidents per officer jumped from 629 in 2005 to 719 in 2010, Nichols said.

“With the number (of officers) we have, we’re just not adequately policing this community,” he said.

The FBI advises caution with yearly crime statistics: “Until data users examine all the variables that affect crime in a town, city, county, state, region, or other jurisdiction, they can make no meaningful comparisons,” according to the FBI website.

For Boardman, those variables include geography and business, said Administrator Jason Loree.

“I’m not afraid to say the South Side of Youngstown has some challenges that greatly impact Boardman’s north side, and we have to deal with those as Youngstown has to deal with those,” Loree said.

Because of the township’s location, Loree said, it faces a “tougher challenge than most.”

North-south roads, such as Glenwood Avenue, Market Street and Interstate 680, make it easy for crime to travel from the city to Boardman, he said.

“Crime doesn’t know a border. It will go where it thinks it can get away with the most,” he said.

Boardman also has to protect a large retail corridor that draws nearly 100,000 people through the area daily, based on traffic studies, Loree said.

Anderson Township has a similar business district.

“We do have a strong business corridor with restaurants and shopping,” Earhart said.

These retail areas tend to require more attention from law enforcement officials, whether it’s because of thefts or the sheer increase in people traveling through the township, Loree said.

The Mahoning County sales tax generated more than $27 million in 2010, which was used for county services and not given to local government.

While it is estimated that 50 percent of that revenue is generated in Boardman, only a small portion of the state sales tax makes its way into the township budget through the Local Government Fund, which is expected to be slashed when the state’s budget is released next month, Loree said.


1NoBS(2758 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Extortion: the taking of money, property, or services through coercion.

The police levy has nothing to do with the insurance committee.

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2lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

A tax is a tax is a tax stop with the mumbo jumbo and stop with the taxes, let them pay their own ins. i have to pay mine

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3repeaters(314 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Everone gets the message.....If the healthcare plan gets reformed, the Vindicator will not only overwhelmingly endorse the levy, but will print as many articles as needed to scare residents ensuring it's passage.

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4Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Wow so much hate for your neighbors .
And they call this a good place to rise a family HA HA

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5apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Repeaters is correct, if the health insurance things passes, the Vindy will indeed endorse the levy and the number of articles on crime in Boardman will increase exponentially.

How do you like Nichols rationale above with respect to the DROP in violent crime between 2008 and 2009??? It went from 73 in 2008 to 48 in 2009 with less officers on the roads. Maybe the criminals aren't holding meetings about where to commit their crimes as some Boardman employees have said. (and laughed behind the scenes)

Here's a thought. Everyone takes 20% cuts in wages and benefits and then the 2 million or more that is saved can go to hiring more officers.

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6apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Higher taxes will cause more foreclosures plain and simple. More seniors will be squeezed even further than they already are now. All so that some of the highest paid "public servants" in Ohio can continue to feed from the 24 carat gold lined trough, continue to get ZERO deductible health care, continue to retire much earlier than the people footing the bill, and continue to collect (double dip) pensions that are far more generous than private sector workers.

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7apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Neighbors? Many have moved out of Boardman, right KK?

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8JME(802 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

"The Township needs to incorporate, issue a sales tax so everyone that comes to the SP Mall can help with funding their safety"

This would be the most logical solution since retail and the customers that it attracts is driving up the need for police, but unfortunately State law does not allow this.

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9apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

The employees are simply overpaid in wage and benefit. It has nothing to do with incorporation or anything else. The retail stores pay property taxes too. They used an unstable source of income, inheritance taxes, to build in a cost structure that is unsustainable and can't be funded through just property taxes.

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10Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

If you can not afford to live out here MOVE .
We do not need any dead heads who can not pay their taxes to live here . Ytown and North Jackson have a lot of empty houses, move there .We need the police to keep those type of people out or at lest keep them in line when they come in our town to shop . Vote yes

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11repeaters(314 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Freeatlast......It's not personnal, it's strickly business. Common sense tells you that the more money out of your pocket means less shopping on 224. So the only people the police will be protecting are the crimminals from EACH OTHER.

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12apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I can afford to live here, many can not afford the property tax increases that have been going on for decades. The employees need to face reality not just keep on jacking up the property tax rates. Do you think the people who live around the Boardman plaza can afford more taxes? The people along southern blvd? So that township employees can make 24 carat gold wages and benefits?

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13ValleyNative(174 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I need the Boardman residents to approve this so that I am safe driving from Canfield to Boardman for Vintage Estates/mall/eating and then back home. Thank you, Spartans. Make me proud.

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14apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

What happens when all those people who can't afford to live in Boardman because of yet higher property taxes move out? Then YOUR property values decline even further than they have already.

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15JME(802 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Then the hoodrats will take over more of Boardman.

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16seminole(476 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

You new all this would be coming from Nichols: "For example, with fewer officers on patrol, police are missing crimes they would have caught on the road, Nichols said. “It does not mean that crime is down.”

The number of all incidents per officer jumped from 629 in 2005 to 719 in 2010, Nichols said.

“With the number (of officers) we have, we’re just not adequately policing this community,” he said

...and yet they have not stepped-up and tried to become more aggressive. Keep pounding the excuse of lesser officers means they can have lower standards of enforcement, that always makes people want to continue ensure you have no insurance costs...

And this one from Loree: “I’m not afraid to say the South Side of Youngstown has some challenges that greatly impact Boardman’s north side, and we have to deal with those as Youngstown has to deal with those,” Loree said...and yet there is no more presence in the north end of Boardman than 5 years ago, actually it is probably less because, you know, there are less officers to get out and all.

Stop with this ass backwards rhetoric and face up to the fact that without stronger direction and a demand for accountability within the BPD there will never be a detering presence in Boardman.

And to all my pals that disagree with me when I rant about the fact that the crime has rolled into Boardman because the police do not do their job, from your hero Jason Loree in this story: “Crime doesn’t know a border. It will go where it thinks it can get away with the most,” he said...hmmm, sound familiar? One of your township officials just admitted what I and others have been saying for years: crime is coming to Boardman because they CAN get away with it!!!

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17apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We have 90 and 100 thousand a year officers spending 99% of their time with petty thefts at Walmart and traffic duty. Why? Because there is still very little violent crime in Boardman. When was the last murder? At least 5 years ago and that was a domestic violence issue. Rapes? Very few. Do we really need to pay 90-100 thousand for basically mall guards.

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18JME(802 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

If you use the data in Vindy's Officer-to-Community comparison, Boardman has the second highest budget per capita out of that group (not counting Marion because of missing data) at $164.64 a head, behind only West Chester at $269.61 a head.
If these communities are similar, Boardman residents are kicking in a high amount of money to fund the police department.

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19apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

So the top echelon guys are dealing with what? The 90-100 guys are working what? The murders? zero. Rapes? few. Burglaries? Still few. Nope, they are ALL dealing with the same petty thefts and traffic.

The fact that serious crime fell from 73 to 48 from 2008 to 2009 really has to make them shake their heads because they've been selling fear that less cops equals more crime. Or as Nichols said, maybe those who are getting murdered aren't reporting it due to less manpower on the streets.

There are very few officers making less than 70K. Factor in another 1/3 for those 24 carat gold health care, pensions, perks, take home cars, clothing allowances, overtime, 4 hours for court appearances, etc.

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20Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I do not do care about land value now .I sold most of mine years ago.
I made so much money buying up land in Boardman/Poland in the 50s/60s plus what my farther gave me . Them I sold it to a lot of developers who built these cracker box houses out here .Plus renting out the buildings I build ,I do not care if the values go down , Then I can buy them back for 25 cents on the dollar and rent them out .And set down here in Fl on my boat and rake in the money. and laugh at those who think they are going after the ones who are stealing them blind.
I like it here and do not want people who can not or are not willing to pay the tax to live here and then cry when something happens . OH OH MY were are the cops BOO HOO
This is the world of the GOP Right . I have mine to bad for you .
I do not have a job and do not need one
And that is why I can set here on my boat and fish and play on the computer all day. , I hope you do if you need one . .

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21apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

How's the loss of value of your Florida home working for you?

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22repeaters(314 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Tell me you bought it in the last 10 plus years during the FLORIDA HOUSING BOOM?

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23apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We sold a house near Orlando in 2007 for 325K that is now worth about half that.

I hope Free didn't see such a decline in his housing.

I wonder what it costs to live in Anchorage, Alaska. Anyone know anyone from there!!!

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24Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago


I live on my boat in Fl . As I said I do not care I have mine . I only rent now . And love the discount rates .

You are the guys who are voting in the down fall of the state and town
Hope you have as much fun on your retirement as I do .

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25ytown1(398 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I'll bet Free living on Jimbo's old house boat he used while in congress. I wonder if he still has some of Jim's old staffers doing the upkeep and repairs at the taxpayers expense like he did? Sure sounds like it, he just sounds too happy to be true. He probably claims he is homeless and lives off of his government check claiming he is in section 8 housing, his own section 8 housing at that.

Probably over compensating as usual. You know what they say, somebody that darned happy has something to hide.

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26Freeatlast(1991 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

YOU BETCHA I take all I can get . I live on a 54 foot boat in Fl. in the winter and in the best condo in Boardman in the summer and my other boat on lake Erie . I got mine hope you can get yous . Keep voting like you do and ,OK HAHAHA you will not. Looks like you missed the boat . FOOL

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27apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Something smells about the supposed agreement the insurance committee and Boardman township reported. You simply do not save $500,000 with minimal deductibles, and slightly higher copays. It's a zero sum game. The only way to save $500,000 in insurance premiums is to transfer the $500,000 to the employees in increased costs and based on the reported items, I don't see it. Then, I doubt the unions just gave back these benefits without some under the table agreement when (if) the levy passes. I'm betting raises to cover the insurance costs and probably a sweetener. I'll have to get the agreement and go over it with a fine tooth comb.

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28republicanRick(1716 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Deductible went to $ 500 but do they still have to contribute a percentage of their pay now, or is that eliminated?

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29apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

There is no doubt Rick that what the township is telling the media and the media is reporting isn't the whole story. The township employees never give anything up without some take backs or promises based on the levy passing.

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30Doctore(52 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I beat you to it apollo! Go ahead though, then we will see who is telling the truth.
Here is a hint - Just like switching car insurance, changing carriers can cause a dramatic shift in costs.
I told you we may have some (SOME) common ground, however, I want what is best for all of us and I am not against our Township employees.

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31ytown1(398 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

We are not against the township employees either, this has never been an us against them, they have made it that way with their personal attacks here.

What I want is a sane and fiscal operation of the township, not a budget that we are constantly chasing to fulfill, because of contact promises based on the inheritance tax for one among others that we could never in a million years be able to afford and sustain for any length of time. That is where we find ourselves. More taxes are not the answer when you have items that be be corrected first. The insurance thing is only the first item.

Is this going to be painful to the people we rely on to protect us and keep our community a place to be proud of, Yes it is going to hurt for a little, but this is not personal, I have never said in any of my previous posts that these people do not deserve a good living, I have only posted the items that we just cannot afford, Insurance is one item, we will see how that plays out, (I mean no give backs in raises to compensate for this if the levy passes), The accumulated vacation and sick days is another, I could continue but you have read it before.

I am still amazed on how the votes went form 5-4, to 9-0, without some sort of backdoor promise. I do believe the documents displaying the facts of the current insurance plan for anyone to download here swayed some to change their vote, but should not have swayed all. See the trust level is what has been damaged the most here. We cannot believe anything for it's face value any longer. That trust has to be rebuilt, and that will take some time.

I still ask Todd Franko to ask the real questions concerning the fact of just passing the 2.2 mil levy and turn right around and ask for 3.85 mils more? What happened to the promises from the first levy that went unfulfilled. How about it Todd, the editorial today was a start but you would really be the Man if you delved into this area.

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32apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

I'm certainly not against the township employees either. Just against ridiculous spending, outrageous contracts, and more taxes to support spending that is just unsustainable and built on inheritance monies that are dwindling.

If I hit the lottery tomorrow for $50,000, would I build my spending around winning that same $50,000 every year? Of course not but that's exactly what the township and past trustees did.

I have requested the "agreement" that they voted 9-0 on Friday to accept. I highly doubt the township employees just gave back some dollars without getting something in return and probably even greater than the givebacks.

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33apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

This insurance "agreement" is just a dog and pony show to get the people who don't pay attention to vote yes. Then moving it to August is yet another scam because they want as few voting as possible. That's not the spirit of Democracy. You should want as many people voting as possible not this shady way to pass something. Move it to November. If 3 months is no big deal, then 6 months should cause the fall of Boardman.

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34apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

If 3 months is no big deal, then 6 months should NOT cause the fall of Boardman.

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35apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Comparing Boardman police to police in NJ, NY, and Cal where the cost of living is way more than Boardman is just plain stupid. Plus, the crime rates and type of crimes in NJ, NY, and Cal are far more violent. Comparing Boardman police salaries to peer communities, indicates Boardmans are making 20% too much.

Remember Median household income in Boardman is approx $60,000.

Here are the salaries for 2010.

Paul Poulos $53,307.78
Gene Flara $61,701.03
Richard Romeo $62,173.84
Heather Douglas $63,014.56
Gerald Kamensky $63,354.31
Michelle Glaros $63,362.02
Matthew Sell $63,729.97
Gregory Stepuk $65,078.33
Mark Jacobs $65,374.16
Charles Mound $65,534.02
Michael Sweeney $65,724.65
Stephen Dubos $66,215.73
Michael Salser $66,227.29
Robert Spatar $66,239.66
Jeffrey Lytle $66,678.41
Benjamin Switka $67,561.56
Phillip Merlo $67,665.01
Michael Mullins $67,753.39
Darrell Wagner $68,059.20
Jonathan Martin $68,289.55
John Gocala $68,379.54
Anthony Ciccotelli $69,016.82
Patrick Klingensmith $69,864.54
Jack Neapolitan $70,139.63
Brian Cionni $70,299.56
William Woods $70,963.86
Joseph O'Grady $71,521.99
Matthew Gilbert $71,622.10
Michael Longo $71,946.56
Jamison Diglaw $72,312.78
Daryn Tallman $72,398.29
Michael Dado $72,700.26
Charles Hillman $73,877.61
Jack Cochran $75,096.99
Brian Hebeger $76,215.28
Timothy Hughes $77,960.01
Paul Grimes $78,538.80
John Paul Allsopp $80,689.66
Richard Balog $80,991.10
Glenn Patton $83,122.98
Albert Kakascik $83,309.47
Stephen Riwniak $87,688.38
Edward McDonnell $91,045.09
Donald Lamping $93,684.66
Michael Hughes $94,431.95
Glen Riddle $101,685.49
Donald Hawkins $103,299.44
John Nichols $141,186.70

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36apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Add 30-35% of those totals for benefits and perks.

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37apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Those salaries are cut and pasted directly from the township supplied CD that I get from them. I guarantee they are correct unless the township is giving me false information. The $141,000 guy is Nichols the chief. He retired and cashed in his accumulated sick and vacation time. Which means his average salary for his last 3 years of work is about $120,000 per year and inflates his pension to at least $60,000 a year and probably more. The calculation of pension is on the web at:


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38apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Ask Nichols what his pension is. I doubt he'll tell you and the state employees have been fighting the states newspapers to keep that under wraps. Why do you think that is? Because it's obscene. Regardless of whether the accumulated sick and vacation time is used to inflate the pensions, they are still far superior to anything the people who are supplying them have. That has to change. Transition them to what the private sector has, 401K programs.

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39apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Nichols is part of this scandal. So is Kotheimer.


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40apollo(1227 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Ohio's newspapers put this together.


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41vinglass(295 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

More apartments in Boardman?? Please, NO MORE SECTION 8 in Boardman!! Didn't we learn anything from Applewood Ct, Matthews road, S. Schenley, Cook Ave, Sheilds Rd??? More section 8 housing and we will certianly need more police to deal with the calls these apartments generate.

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42ytown1(398 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

vinglass, that is exactly why Carlstaatz rants about Section 8, he is either a current police officer, a retired officer or a family member of an officer, so any way he sees it section 8 is job security in his moron way of thinking.

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43endthismess(463 comments)posted 3 years, 1 month ago

Hmm....after reading all these bad comments, many of which are very valid and true, bet one thing...I am selling and getting the hell out of Boardman. I have had more than enough of all this "crooked police action" s-it generated by all these crooked cops! This is not LA here. And all these young cops Bdm is hiring with our tax money are all smart mouths rude, try to intimidate homeowners, business patrons and other ppl., Too bad a decent person will no longer apply for these jobs, so Bdm is left to hire all these punky little wanna be's who think a live reality showed is being filmed about them. It's these night turn bas___s who think they are all batman and robin. Do these little punky 40 something ptl know that if the Bdm taxpayers ban together and do not pass a levy, they can all look for work at Mickey D's down in Canal Fulton? The high school kids have all the Mickey D's jobs right now Oh, and lets' don't forget, wherever these punk cops go, they leave their cruiser motor runnng, wasting gas, while they are outside the car on a call and then leave their cruiser sit in the BPD parking lot at the police station and do the same very thing when they are inside the building doing paperwork on someone these just arrested..leave the car running and wasting gasm that BDM TXAYERS PAY FOR. W T F??? And...they want us to give them more money with gas nearly $4 bucks a gallon.... HELL NO.. Let their asses ride bikes! My vote as well as all my neighbors will be.... N O!! and will be... N O.... until I am sold and move. Personally, I have had more than enough of these punky Keysone B_____ds. Hey all you "little man" intimidating wanna be BPD cops, have some respect for the ppl in Bdm who pay your wages and put food in all your rude mouths!! If you hate your job and our township citizens...QUIT! Disgusting. I am really finished giving anymore benefit of the doubt and trying to help with my yes vote. Moving!

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