Trustees must devise a way to bolster police funds this summer, or the township may not have enough to cover police payroll


By Samantha Phillips

sphillips@vindy.com

LIBERTY

Trustees must devise a way to bolster police funds from June to August, or the township may not have enough money to cover police payroll without going in a deficit.

Fiscal officer Steve Shelton told trustees Monday that it costs $120,000 a month for police payroll, and there is $138,000 available to spend in the police fund. So unless the township increases revenue or cuts expenses, the police fund may run out by the end of June, and won’t have any revenue until advances on real-estate taxes are deposited in August, he said.

There is now $538,000 in the police budget, but the township owes its bank $400,000 by the end of June for a loan from earlier in the year for the police fund.

The township’s police fund started the year with a $75,000 deficit, Shelton said.

The shortfall at the beginning of this year occurred because the $129,000 that Liberty made from its tow yard and speed cameras last year, which are both operated by police, all went to the general fund, police Chief Richard Tisone said.

Township police began using speed cameras on Interstate 80 last week, after a resolution was approved May 10 to allow police to enforce highway cameras and split the revenue 50/50 between police and the general fund. Tisone reported there was $11,678 in gross income made from the 116 speed tickets on Interstate 80 last week.

After expenses, however, Tisone said police and the township received about $3,944 each from last week. He believes the township should pay overtime costs and increase the split to 80/20.

The trustees also discussed a meeting from the morning of May 10, during which Trustees Arnie Clebone and Greg Cizmar voted for the speed-camera resolution. Trustee Jodi Stoyak expressed her frustration that she wasn’t aware the trustees would take action at the meeting. Clebone explained that he and Cizmar voted on the resolution and three others not to intentionally leave Stoyak out of the decision, but because he deemed the resolution as time sensitive.

He admitted that taking action without her was a mistake. In the future, Clebone said he will aim to set up special meetings when Stoyak is available to make decisions on time-sensitive motions.

Clebone said he spoke to township Administrator Pat Ungaro about Stoyak’s thoughts on the speed camera. “I don’t make decisions for Jodi,” Ungaro said. “You’re adults, act like it. Get along.”

Tisone argued the speed cameras should primarily be about safety, not making money. He said when the cameras were first approved, they were enforced in areas such as school zones to increase safety. “That’s why we never did some of the enforcement the way other communities did,” Tisone said. “I believe the cameras serve a great purpose. They slow people down, but ... using them strictly for a moneymaking venture, I have a problem with it.”

In other business, trustees unanimously approved a dog-control resolution that was introduced seven months ago. An owner who neglects dogs, doesn’t properly tether them or tethers them in extreme conditions or abandons dogs, will pay between $25 and $100 for the first offense and between $75 and $150 for subsequent offenses.

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