Brimfield makes second bid for voter approval of police levy

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Six months after voters rejected an additional police levy, Brimfield Township officials hope they find a more modest option acceptable.

After:The Brimfield tax would provide nearly $600,000 a year for staff increases

Number 9 is a $3.02 million replacement police safety tax that would replace a $2.7 million tax that voters approved in 2006.

Police Chief Roy Mosley said the replacement levy would raise just over $1 million a year, about $352,000 more than the roughly $670,000 the 2006 levy collects. currently.

The additional cost to homeowners would be $40.50 per year per $100,000 of market value.

By comparison, an additional continuous levy of 1.95 million voters rejected in the November general election ballot would have generated nearly $600,000 in new revenue at a cost to owners of $68 per year per $100,000 of market value.

After:Defeat of Brimfield Police levy casts doubt on increased numbers

Township officials say the need to increase the police department’s current $2.1 million budget is due in large part to the township’s population growth, as well as development, both residential and commercial.

“Staffing remains the focus of our security tax,” Mosley said.

The Brimfield Police Department has a replacement levy on the May 3 ballot.

Under state law, revenue generated from property tax levies does not increase without additional voter approval. So, with increasing population and development, the costs to landowners simply spread further. Therefore, the 2006 levy earns no more than when it was approved.

“He can never collect more than the day he passes,” Mosley said. “So yeah, the increase in population that’s coming in has that effect. Sometimes people think, ‘Oh, you’ve got all this new residential population coming in.’ You will automatically get a bunch of extra income. And if he continued to collect what was allowed the day he was adopted, that would be fine. But that’s not necessarily the case with the way the law is drafted. So we cannot take advantage of this increase in population unless a replacement levy or renewal or replacement levy is passed.”

The department wants to add at least one police officer position to the current roster of 18 full-time police officers who patrol the township’s more than 23 square miles.

Over the next 18 months or so it is expected that there will be up to 500 new residential units in Brimfield, with the township’s overall population estimated at 15,000. The 2020 US Census pegged Brimfield’s population at 11,352 – a figure that Mosley said last fall had already passed.

By comparison, according to a survey by the department, Ravenna has 24 officers with a population of 11,724, Streetsboro has 28 with a population of 17,260, Aurora has 28 with a population of 17,239, and Tallmadge has one. 29 with a population of 18,394.

Prior to the November levy defeat, Mosley said the plan was to hire two new officers as soon as possible and possibly a third. Mosley had said that in 2021 the department had only been able to field the minimum staffing of two officers most of the time, but with these new hires it might have been possible to increase the minimum staffing to three officers.

Photographs of current police officers are displayed on the Brimfield Police Department wall.  Township officials are asking voters to approve a replacement levy, in part to hire more officers to keep up with community growth.

So far this year, the department has had more than two officers on duty just over half the time, Mosley said.

“When these two officers are linked by a call for service, or are together on a variety of call types that warrant a two-officer dispatch response, we have no other officers available in the township for proactive patrol or for respond to calls for service,” Mosley said. “Additionally, with only one investigations officer assigned full-time as a detective, our patrol officers are often responsible for their own follow-up investigation of reports they take. It also takes them away from patrol duties.”

The township is also experiencing commercial development, including increasing retail development in Brimfield Waterfalls and Maplecrest Market which, in 2021, generated 59% of all arrests, criminal summonses and warrants served.

In addition to staffing, the department also wants to ensure that it can maintain its program of equipment purchases, training and maintenance and replacement of vehicles. A fully equipped police car can cost up to $45,000.

Visit https://www.bpdsafetylevy.com/ for more information on the fee.

Journalist Jeff Saunders can be reached at jsaunders@recordpub.com.

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