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Group backing Poland Township police levy

LOWELLVILLE — Transparency, openness, citizen-led initiatives and numerous acts of community engagement on the part of the Poland Township Police Department are the key ingredients Drew Carchedi feels are in place to ensure a five-year, 0.73-mill police levy will pass in just under a month.

“I feel energized about this. It’s a great department to support,” Carchedi, who is part of a citizens group called the Committee to Preserve and Protect Poland Township Police, said.

Since early January, the 30-member committee has done more than sing the praises of the department, however. It has raised about $7,500 that is being used primarily for advertising and spreading awareness about the levy, Carchedi said.

He was among the committee members, elected officials and others who attended a 45-minute town hall meeting Wednesday at the Western Reserve Joint Fire District station on South Hubbard Road to support the measure on the March 19 special election ballot.

“I think people feel optimistic that this will pass,” Carchedi said.

The levy will generate about $359,000 per year for general services and operating expenses. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $26 annually. It also would not mean new taxes, police Chief Greg Wilson said.

A five-year levy, set at 0.98 mills, was defeated in the Nov. 7 general election, in part, because of what some officials felt was confusing or ambiguous language on the ballot. Specifically, the words “new” and “additional” in the language led many voters last fall to believe it would mean an increase in their taxes, township Trustee Eric Ungaro said at the time.

During his presentation at the informational session, Wilson said if the levy passes, it will replace the one from 1978, which expired Dec. 31. Nevertheless, this measure will collect the same amount of taxes as the 1978 one, he said

Efforts continue to engage the community to be sure more people are educated and know the facts about the measure, Wilson said, adding the millage was dropped from 0.98 to 0.73 to reflect the 2024 property reevaluations.

Trustee Joanna Wollet said approval would allow the department to maintain sustainability and continue moving in a direction of growth.

‘We’re a very proactive department,” Ungaro said.

He and fellow Trustee Edward Kempers echoed Wollet’s assessment, saying the department must receive the funding to continue providing essential services to the community of about 15,000 residents.

Wilson told those at Wednesday’s meeting his department also was recently awarded a $47,000 grant for body cameras. In addition, the department is taking further steps to ensure its officers remain as well as possible physically, mentally and emotionally, he said.

The department has 19 officers, including one who serves part-time on the county’s Crisis Response Team, Wilson said.

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