Township residents came out in full force to the July 25 regular meeting of the Boardman Township trustees -- the last meeting prior to the Aug. 2 election. The majority attended in a show of support for the upcoming 3.85-mill, five-year additional police levy that will appear on the ballot.
With the bulk of the meeting dedicated to public comments, many of the more than 60 township residents present voiced their opinions on the levy, earmarked specifically for the police department.
With the cost to the owner of a home valued at $100,000 at approximately $117 annually, lifelong resident of Boardman, Marilyn Sheetz, asked how you put a price tag on the safety of your family.
“I believe that every resident of Boardman has the God-given right to be free of fear,” said Sheetz, adding, “In the end, it is the safety of our families ... not the amount of taxes we pay,” as she asked for a rally of support for both the police department and the trustees.
Having recently become part of a block watch in his Montrose neighborhood, Chuck Coristin said he initially believed that he and his neighbors were being proactive. After speaking with Boardman Township Chief of Police Jack Nichols and participating in a prayer walk on the North side of Boardman, Coristin said he now realizes he and his neighbors are “playing catch up,” sharing his shock at the level of area crime.
Jeff Barone, township resident and treasurer for the Boardman Coalition against Crime, said, “Nothing is going to be more painful than watching what will happen to our township. I did my homework, I voted yes,” he said.
Commending the trustees for the phenomenal job they have done in tying the funds up, Township Administrator Jason Loree addressed the common concern of the few speaking in opposition to the levy; that a portion of general fund money that is currently going to the police department would be returned to the general fund.
Going on to explain, Loree stated that had a general-fund levy been put on the ballot in lieu of a police levy, funds generated by it could be used by the current or future board in whatever manner they chose. However, the trustees chose to secure the police budget, restricting the $3.8 million generated annually by the levy to the police department.
Trustee Chairman Tom Costello said that should the levy be approved, the township would begin hiring officers and police department support staff in 2012, as that is when funds would be available, adding that in light of the civil service process, it would take up to two years to hire all of the intended 10 police officers.
Following the Aug. 2 election, the next meeting of the Boardman Township Board of Trustees will be held Monday, Aug. 8 at the Boardman Township Government Center.