Township police levy returns


By Amanda Tonoli

atonoli@vindy.com

AUSTINTOWN

Township trustees have put a police levy back on the ballot for November.

The 3.2-mill levy is a replacement of 2.4 mills of an existing levy and an increase of 0.8 mills.

The reason, trustees said, is to maintain the current level and quality of police service being provided.

“The amount of money that we have in our budget has been reduced almost $6 million since 2010 with the governor taking our money that normally comes back to us through the budget of the state ... because he decided to have a rainy-day fund,” said Ken Carano, township trustee. “Well, the rainy-day fund now has hit its limit. The rainy-day fund in Columbus is now $2.7 billion. I tried to get to the governor to tell him it’s thunder[ing] and lightning right now ... but the fact remains everything we do has to be reduced now because our money is not coming back to us.”

The reduction could be in services the township provides, such as repairing and repaving roads.

Ten years ago, Carano said it cost $25,000 for a mile of road to be paved, and now the same length is $110,000.

“Nothing has been lessened; everything costs more,” Carano said.

Also during the meeting, T.J. Elmo, former Austintown and now Boardman O’Reilly Auto Parts manager, accused Jim Davis, trustee chairman, of using a personal matter to impact his business.

“[Austintown O’Reilly] had a great relationship with Austintown Township, and Jim Davis stopped dealing with O’Reilly’s because of me,” Elmo said.

Davis said he sought to curtail service from O’Reilly Auto Parts in Austintown after a dispute, though noting: “The decision was made by our board.”

“After being contacted via social media in an unprofessional and certainly aggressive manner, I directed [township Administrator] Mike [Dockry] we could conduct business with other auto-parts stores in the Austintown community to avoid any further escalation or altercation with these types of individuals,” Davis told The Vindicator after the meeting.

Elmo emphasized his concern that a personal matter leaked over into business.

“When you start treating people with respect and dignity, then we’ll talk about business,” Davis said during the meeting.

“That’s fair enough, but that has nothing to do with anybody in this room,” Elmo said during the meeting. “You are sending Austintown money out of Austintown [to other businesses, such as in Hubbard] because of a personal issue. Those are tax-paying dollars you’re supposed to keep in Austintown ...”

Davis said during the meeting that the board’s intent was to keep the funds in Austintown.

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