By Amanda Ensinger
The Franklin Township Police Department is celebrating the passing of the police levy.
According to the unofficial results from the Franklin County Board of Elections, the levy passed with 62 percent of voting residents in favor of the levy and 38 percent against.
The levy will 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.
Generating $612,00 a year for the police department, the 4.1-mil five-year timed levy will allow the police department to add a third shift.
“I am feeling really good and am happy to see the numbers the levy passed by,” said John Fleshman, township trustee. “This shows us that a lot of people want police protection in the township.”
According to the Franklin County Board of Elections, 401 out of 10,000 township residents voted.
Fleshman said the next steps will be to hire at least five full-time officers and restore their third shift. Currently, the police department has six full-time officers and operates two shifts.
Last year, the township laid off the remaining overnight officers due to budget restraints. During times the township police department is not on duty, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office responds to emergency calls only.
“The passing of this levy will allow us to bring back our full staff, but it won’t happen overnight,” Fleshman said. “We won’t see this money come in until 2018, so this is something we will have to build up over time.”
Fleshman said the next step will be to determine what the police department’s new budget is.
“I would be open to floating the police department funds from the general fund until the money comes in,” Fleshman said.
Fleshman said he also hopes the department can hire some additional part-time officers to ensure the township has full coverage when full-time officers are out sick or on vacation.
The township also plans to look at the vehicles the police officers are currently driving.
Currently, according to Fleshman, the maintenance on these vehicles is getting very expensive.
Fleshman said he is excited see what a positive impact this new levy will have on the community.
“It is going to be great to have more officers on the streets throughout the entire day,” he said. “I also look forward to seeing them focus on the drug houses in the township and fixing those issues.”
For more information on the Franklin Township Police Department or the recent levy, visit www.franklin-township.com.