Trustees at odds over finances

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By Amanda Amsel
Staff Writer

As Franklin Township police officers are laid off, the trustees are at odds over how to fix the ongoing financial issues within the department.

The topic was debated at a special board meeting.

Two of the trustees are considering asking taxpayers for another permanent levy, while one trustee suggested a timed levy.

“I would support a timed police levy,” trustee Tim Guyton said. “It would be for five years. The amount would have to be determined based on the what we want our department to look like. Additionally, there are other things that need done by the board to curtail other expenses before we move with any levies.”

Guyton has been an opponent of permanent levies, saying it is not fair to ask taxpayers to pay additional taxes forever and that permanent levies are not fair to future generations.

However, township trustees John Fleshman and Don Cook said that when Guyton was chairman of the board, he approved numerous permanent levies.

In November, the Franklin Township Fire Department tried to pass a 5.12-mil permanent property tax levy that would have generated $800,000 for the department. The levy failed with 56 percent of the township residents voting against it.

Fleshman said he believes that a timed levy is a mistake and would leave the police department in the same situation it is currently in when it expires.

“It may be better to just wait a year and see how the police department functions after these cuts are implemented,” Fleshman said. “I think if we have a timed levy, we will end up in worse shape than we are in now.”

Guyton said he stands firm on his stance and does not plan on changing his mind about this issue.

“I will not support permanent levies. I expressed this with everyone last year,” Guyton said.

The police cuts went into effect Feb. 6. The township police will only work one shift seven days a week. If an emergency situation occurs outside of that shift, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office will respond.

The county will not respond to non-emergency calls.

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