Cuts loom in Liberty after failure of 2 levies
By danny restivo
Liberty Township is facing budget cuts after two levies were defeated Tuesday.
Trustees said the township will be forced to make cuts after voters narrowly defeated a five-year, 0.45-mill 911 levy by 129 votes, as well as a five-year, 1.25-mill road levy.
After the defeat of the 911 levy, Trustee Stan Nudell said $75,000 will come out of the police budget and $10,000 from the fire department’s budget to supplement the levy’s failure. The proposed levy was designed to pay for Liberty’s involvement with the Trumbull County dispatch center after the township’s 911 dispatch services were transferred to the county in August.
Nudell said trustees have not pinpointed what budget items will be cut, but keeping people safe is the main priority.
“We’re not going to panic, and we’re going to take care of the township to make sure no services will be diminished,” said Nudell.
Police Chief Richard J. Tisone said trustees will make the final decision on budget cuts, but he did say the department may have to change plans to buy two new cruisers, as well as hiring another officer.
“We might have to adjust some or all of those plans,” he said.
Nudell said the failure of the 1.25-mill road levy means the township cannot afford to pave any roads in the foreseeable future. He said the road fund may see cuts, but existing funds will be used for road patching, snow removal and salt.
“Repaving roads is out of the question right now,” he said.
He said the proposed road levy would have brought in $268,000 annually. With the failure, Nudell said the township is no longer eligible for an additional $200,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation. He said the grant would have been approved if the township showed it could match the funding.
Nudell said trustees may try put the road levy and the 911 levy back on the ballot in March.
He said trustees will discuss potential budget cuts during the executive session of a regular trustee meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.