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Perrysburg Township officials to ask voters for police, fire levies

The Perrysburg Township trustees will decide this month about asking voters to approve a new 2.6-mill police levy and to renew two fire levies that total 3 mills.

The trustees discussed the levies at a meeting this week and plan to get the measures on the November general election ballot.

Township Administrator Walt Celley said the police levy would cost the homeowner of a $100,000 house $91 a year. Officials did not say how much money this would generate. ‍Mr. Celley said the trustees will decide whether it would be set for a term or be continuous.

Gary Britten, president of the trustees, said he would like to avoid a continuous levy and thinks the rest of the board will too. He favors a 5-year police levy and hopes to reduce the amount to 2 mills.

“We need to be fiscally responsible for the residents,” he said. “Last year and this year we've had a shortfall with police revenue of close to $1 million.”

This levy would help eliminate that shortfall, Mr. Britten said. The department has already made cuts, he added.

Two lieutenant positions were eliminated when two people retired. There are also nearly $60,000 in savings with the salaries of Police Chief Mark Hetrick and Deputy Chief Michael Gilmore, who both retired and then were rehired at a patrolmen‘s rate.

“That is big savings,” Mr. Britten said.

The police have a 3-mill levy expiring in 2016 which generates about $1.2 million a year. There is also a continuous levy.

The two levies to be renewed for the township fire department fund its operations. Fire Chief Tom Brice said the 1-mill levy generates $525,580 and the 2-mill levy generates $915,771 each year in tax revenues. The 3 mills mean a $300 tax bill each year for the owner of a $100,000 home. The two levies will expire at the end of the year.

Chief Brice has said the levies are needed to keep the same services. The levies make up about half of the department's budget. The department also had a 4-mill levy approved by voters in 2012.

Initially, the township administration wanted the fire levies to be on the May ballot, but the trustees wanted to wait until the November election when there is a bigger voter turnout.

“We try to manage it the best we can,” Mr. Britten said. “The schools will be on the ballot, too. Everyone needs money and taxes are already high. It can be a tough pill to swallow for taxpayers.”

Heading into the year, fire department’‍s budget was expected to be about $4 million, and police at $3.6 million. The police department has 34 employees, and fire has 17 full time employees, and seven more part timers. 

Contact Matt Thompson at: mthompson@theblade.com, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.

 

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