TEMPERANCE - Bedford Township voters will be asked Aug. 8 to approve a new tax to pay for the hiring four more sheriff's deputies, the township board decided last night.
The board voted unanimously to place a 0.4-mill tax on the ballot in the primary election. The tax, which would run from 2006 to 2012, would generate $409,200 in its first year, Rick Szczygielski, head of the law enforcement commission, told the board.
"This is something the community needs," he said, noting that the city of Monroe has 47 police officers to patrol its 27,000 population, while Bedford Township has a dedicated force of six Monroe County deputies for its 32,000 residents. The sixth was added five years ago.
Township Clerk Bob Schockman and Trustee Larry O'Dell, also a member of the commission, spoke in favor of the tax. Mr. Schockman said slow response times are the township's main issue, rather than an upsurge in crime.
The tax would cost the owner of a $200,000 house about $55 annually, according to the commission's report.
The projected cost per deputy, in wages and benefits, comes to $85,000.
The board also unanimously approved a resolution designating Pass Christian, Miss., as a sister city. Hurricane Katrina devastated the coastal community, and schoolchildren and other residents have been sending supplies and aid to the community.
Walt Wilburn, township supervisor, said several residents of Pass Christian will attend this weekend's trade fair at Bedford High School. Local residents can meet them and hear first-hand what's happening there.
The board approved several road construction contracts with Monroe County for ditch maintenance, mowing, and constructing an existing culvert along Douglas Road at the Indian Creek crossing.