Police chief says cuts are likely if levy fails

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

The Franklin Township trustees and Police Chief Byron Smith discussed the police levy at a recent board meeting.

The police department is asking voters to approve a 7-mill police levy on Nov. 2. The five-year, timed levy would replace an existing timed levy that is set to expire at the end of 2022, as well as add an additional 3-mills to the levy.

“If the levy does not pass, we will need to release the part-time officers and possibly lose third shift,” Smith said.

The police chief said other cuts to service were possible as well.

This is the second time the department has asked for a levy this year. In the spring, residents rejected a 7.37-mill permanent levy.

At the time the levy failed, Smith said the department would have to cut the third shift to operate within its means. However, those cuts have not yet taken place.

The department currently has two other permanent levies it collects from township taxpayers. Those two levies bring in approximately $700,000 a year for the department.
Smith said the funds from the levy would be used for operational expenses, including paying for salaries, equipment and other department needs.

Police officials hope the community will support the levy this time around, but some voters are still against the extra taxes.

“I am not sure where my taxes are going. So my standpoint is simple – police enforcement in our community is extremely important, however the current police situation seems wasteful and unnecessary,” said Tennie Deibel, Franklin Township resident.

“I am a huge supporter of law enforcement, but I am not in favor of another tax hike,” said David Byers, township resident. “I may consider voting for a police levy in the future but not this year.”

For more information on the Franklin Township Police Department levy, visit franklin-township.com.

In other news, Smith said he met with the principal of Columbus Preparatory Academy to discuss traffic issues. Located at 3330 Chippewa St., Smith said there has been numerous complaints about the intersection of N. Hague Avenue and Chippewa Street because of the school.

“The school is facing a lot of traffic issues since increasing their grade levels from K through 8 to K through 12,” Smith said. “The leaders of the school did not take into consideration the increase in the number of cars that would occur with the increase in grade levels being offered.”

Smith said that during dismissal time, the school ties up traffic on N. Hague Avenue to a point where an emergency vehicle could not get through. Smith said he will be speaking with the Franklin County Engineer’s Office to see what guidance it could provide.

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