By Amanda Ensinger
The Franklin Township Police Department held a public meeting on April 13 to hear input from the community about the proposed police levy.
With only about six people in attendance, everyone at the meeting supported the levy.
“I want to know what I can do to help,” said Aryem Alex, township resident. “I would love to put some yard signs in my yard and raise awareness.”
According to Franklin Township Police Chief Byron Smith, the biggest thing supports can do is to go door-to-door and tell people about the importance of the levy.
“We need people to sign up and knock on doors,” Smith said. “We really need a canvas group that will pass out material about the levy.”
The township is asking voters to approve a 4.1-mil, five-year timed levy that would generate $612,000 a year for the police department.
According to literature provided by the police department, if approved the levy would cost taxpayers an additional $8.37 per month per $70,000 home. However, if a taxpayer has the homestead exemption, the levy would cost approximately half the normal amount.
Previously the police department thought if the levy failed they would have to make additional cuts to the department, now it is looking like all jobs will be saved if the levy fails.
“After looking at the budget again it looks like we barely have enough to carry about five officers plus the chief, which is what we have now,” said Ralph Horn, township trustee.
“However, we still will be at the bare bones.”
Smith said that certain services provided to residents would need to be cut.
“If the levy fails, we won’t have the manpower to address special complaints,” Smith said. “This includes complaints about speeding, drug houses in neighborhoods and other non-emergency issues that require neighborhood patrolling.”
If the levy passes, the police department plans to hire five additional full-time officers, bringing the department back to 10 full-time staff plus the chief.
“The biggest benefit to the levy passing is that we could get a third shift again and could have regular patrols,” Horn said. “Right now, officers go from call-to-call and cannot actively patrol the region, which leaves residents susceptible to more crime.”
During times the township police department is not on duty, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responds to emergency calls.
Currently, the department has 20 volunteers signed up to canvas the region and they plan to start canvassing from now until the May 2 election.
Smith said so far residents have been very supportive of the levy and understand the importance of it.
“I have not gotten any negative feedback,” he said.
For more information on the Franklin Township Police levy, visit www.franklin-township.com.