Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Bloom Township rejects proposed Lithopolis police expansion plan

The Bloom Township trustees rejected a proposal from Lithopolis village officials to team up to provide increased police coverage for the entire township.

"The problem would be putting another levy before the residents and, in these economic times, I don’t want to burden them with more taxes. We don’t feel we have a bad crime problem," Bloom Township trustee Brian Randles told Lithopolis Mayor Eric Sandine at the trustees’ March 25 meeting.

Sandine said the proposal to institute a Lithopolis – Bloom Township Police Protection Plan using the Lithopolis Police Department and funding it with a revised police levy came about after Lithopolis officials were approached by some Bloom Township residents concerned about a perceived increase in crime in the township.

"We’re just doing our due diligence in presenting this to you for discussion," Sandine told the Bloom Township trustees. "We’re not trying to push anything on Bloom Township."

"If they contacted you, they should have contacted us," said Bloom Township Trustee Joseph Smith. "I don’t think we have a crime problem. We haven’t heard any concerns. I think the (Fairfield County) sheriff is providing a real service."

Earlier in March Sandine noted, "This proposal is not intended to be critical of the service provided by the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, but recognizes that the sheriff’s resources are stretched thin in the county and additional officers on the street in the township benefits all residents."

Sandine told the trustees on March 25, "If you don’t want to do it, that’s fine."

Background of police proposal

Lithopolis currently has a 4 mill levy that funds the village’s police department. The rejected proposal suggested placing a township wide, 10 year, 2.5 mill police levy on the November ballot. If a proposed 2.5 mill levy would have passed, then the existing police levy would have been retired in January 2010 and replaced by the new levy. If it had failed, the existing levy would continue.

Either way, the village of Lithopolis still would have had its police department.

The rejected proposed 2.5 mill township wide police levy would have generated about $537,500 annually and would have funded an expanded, township wide police department until 2020.

Other Lithopolis/Bloom Twp. news

The Bloom Township trustees offered to give Lithopolis a letter of support as the village seeks funding to repair its battered Columbus Street.

"We’ll go to bat for you," said Randles.

Sandine said the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC) is sticking with its original project recommendations for federal stimulus funding, which did not include the Columbus Street project.

Sandine said Lithopolis will reapply to the Ohio Public Works Commission again to seek funding for the project.

Options for the project include reconstructing the heavily traveled street from Elder Road to Cedar Hill Road for $2.4 million; or from Delaware Street to Walnut Street for $1.6 million.

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