Monday, Sep 24, 2018
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Clay Township: 2 replacement levies sought against inflation


Cost inflation has caused the Clay Township police department and the Woodville Township volunteer fire department to ask for levies on May 3.

The Clay Township police department will ask voters to approve two replacement tax levies to generate money to maintain full-time police protection and defray other expenses.

The first levy is a continuing 1.5-mill replacement levy for full-time police protection, Clay Township Police Chief Roger Schultze said. The tax was originally passed in 1980.

"That one pays for the officers that patrol the unincorporated areas of Clay Township," he said.

The levy is expected to generate $76,000 a year and will cost the owner of a $100,000 home a little more than $47 annually, according to officials at the Ottawa County Auditor's office. Currently, the owner of a $100,000 home pays about $25 annually.

The second issue on the ballot will be a continuing, 2.5-mill replacement levy to defray the expense of maintaining patrolmen, equipment, and supplies. This levy will replace one originally approved in 1991.

"The money is strictly to keep things status quo," Chief Schultze said. "We have our department where it needs to be today, but we need additional funding to keep it there."

The levy will cost just under $79 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home, officials from the auditor's office said. Currently, the owner of a $100,000 home pays about $45.

If the levies were rejected, Chief Schultze said the police department would most likely be forced to make some cuts, depending on whether one or both failed. Though he said he does not have any specific cuts in mind, officers and hours may be included in those on the chopping block.

"Due to the budget crisis and state cuts, everything is just going up and up and up, and our rates have stayed the same," the police chief said. "We're trying to bring in more revenue to balance that."

And township Trustee Don Peiffer is confident that residents will see a need for the levies to pass.

"We're not going to fail," he said. "We've got good people, they do a good job, and we need it. They deserve it."

The police department, 21774 West Holts East Rd. in Genoa, employs five full-time officers - including the police chief and a school resource officer - and four part-time officers.

Officials from the Woodville Township volunteer fire department, 321 East Main St., are asking for a five-year, 3-mill additional levy that is expected to generate $195,727 a year.

Levy money would go toward the department's operating costs and toward the purchase of a $500,000 fire truck to replace a 1977 model, Fire Chief Paul Heineman said. The station has 37 volunteer firefighters.

If the levy passes, he said the township trustees said they would not collect money next year on the fire department's five-year, 1.2-mill levy for fire protection that expires in 18 months.

The levy will cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $92 a year. The owner now pays about $35.

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