Brimfield Police promote need for May levy

Trevor Ivan

Brimfield Township residents will decide how much they’re willing to pay for police protection when they go to the polls this May.

A 1.9-mill, 5-year replacement levy will be on the ballot to fund the township’s police department. This levy failed last November.

Last night, the levy committee discussed the its purpose at a public meeting.

“There is no state funding for cops,” said David Blough, chief of the Brimfield Police Department. “People are generally feeling overtaxed. They say we should have enough revenue because of all the business development in the township like Wal-Mart.”

Blough said the township’s population has increased from 7,000 to 10,000 residents during the last few years. The population spike is part of the reason that funding needs to be increased.

“Let’s say there are three residents in your town who pass a levy for $10,” Blough said. “If two more people move into the town, the town still only collects $10, but it’s spread among more people. The funding doesn’t increase to fit the population increase. Voters must pass a renewal levy. That’s what we’re asking voters to do here.”

Owners of a $100,000 home will see a tax increase of $35 a year if the levy is passed. All money collected must, by law, be used to fund the police department.

The services of the Brimfield Police Department are spread more thinly while funding remains the same.

After the levy failed last November, the department cut the position of lieutenant. Another empty position is not being filled, and an officer who will retire later this year will not be replaced. Even if this levy passes, those positions will not be filled because of the budget crunch. The levy will simply allow the department to continue its current operations.

Patti Harjung, secretary for the Brimfield Police Department, said if the levy fails in May, it will be back on the ballot in August and then in November. If both of these attempts fail, the department will begin to lose additional funding.

Blough said this is even more difficult because the department has seen a spike in calls during the last year, averaging more than 1,000 per month. Many officers work overtime to answer the calls.

Nancy Rodd, a member of the levy committee, said it’s important for citizens to get involved in the levy effort.

“You need to call other residents and explain to them how important it is to have police officers,” Rodd said. “If a burglar is breaking into your house, you want to know the police will be there in minutes and that you’re not going to have to run out the back door while the police take hours to get there.”

Brimfield resident Julie Carr said she used to be skeptical of the need for the police levy.

“I e-mailed the chief and asked him why we need all this money,” Carr said. “He very eloquently wrote me back and told me, ‘This is what our revenue is and this is what are expenses are.’ I don’t think people realize how much trouble the department is in without the levy.”

Contact public affairs reporter Trevor Ivan at [email protected].