Police levy discussed in Franklin Twp.


By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

With the passage of the recent Franklin Township fire levy, the police department may try for a levy of its own.

At a recent meeting, the trustees said they would allowing Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith to have the Franklin County Auditor research millage numbers for a proposed levy that would generate $400,000, $500,000 or $600,000 per year.

“At this point, nothing has been decided,” said Don Cook, trustee. “However, if we are going to put something on the May ballot, we must decide in one of our January meetings.”

According to Cook, ballot language must be turned into the Franklin County Board of Elections by the first part of February.

Smith has been adamant since the summer that the police department needs a levy to continue to provide township residents with the best possible police protection.

“We have lost 50 percent of our police department so we are in desperate need of a levy too,” Smith said.

Currently, the police department is only operating two shifts. When the Franklin Township Police Department is off duty, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office provides coverage to the township.

“The reality is the sheriff will only respond to high priority runs in the township,” Smith said. “This means if something happens that is not a high priority, you have to wait until the next day to have a township officer respond.”

According to Smith, based on complaints he has heard from residents, they are fed up with this.

“When something happens regardless of the priority of it, residents want a police officer to respond right away,” Smith said. “The only way to ensure this type of coverage is to have a new levy. This new levy would allow us to return to three shifts a day.”

The trustees have not decided if they would in fact approve putting a police levy on the May ballot or if the levy would be permanent or timed if they do approve it.

Both Cook and Trustee Ralph Horn would not say if they supported a levy or not, both stating they needed more information before they could make an informed decision. Trustee John Fleshman could not be reached for comment.

“To be truthful, I need to wait and see more information before I can comment,” Horn said. “The department certainly needs more funding; I’m just not sure where it should come from.”

Smith said if a proposed levy is put on the ballot and is not approved by taxpayers, the township would have to continue operating on two shifts per day.


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