Thursday, January 11, 2001

W. Chester may ask more for police

By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WEST CHESTER TWP. — Residents of Butler County's fastest-growing township may soon have to reach deeper into their wallets to pay for police protection.

        West Chester Township officials are considering putting a police levy renewal and an on the May ballot.

        The township's population — now estimated at more than 61,000 — is among the highest in Ohio and since 1990 has climbed by 54 percent.

        West Chester police officials say they need more money to keep pace with the township's growth while maintaining a high level of policing. A police levy of 4.5 mills, passed in 1994, is no longer adequate, they said.

        “We've been operating with the same amount of money now going into our seventh year,” acting West Chester Police Chief John Bruce said Wednesday. “We are doing our best, ... but in order to continue to provide at that high level, we need more money.”

        The 4.5-mill levy generates about $5 million annually.

        The police department's spending for 2000 was more than $6.4 million and is projected to be $6.9 million in 2001.

        Township trustees are considering whether to put the 4.5-mill levy up for renewal May 1 along with a new 2.5-mill property tax increase.

        Under Ohio law, the trustees have until Feb. 22 to put the property tax issues on the May 1 ballot.

        If the 4.5-mill police operating levy were to be renewed, it would continue to cost the owner of a $100,000 home $18.48 annually. Because of state millage rollback provisions, the 4.5-mill levy is now collecting tax at an effective rate of 3.7 mills.

        If the voters were to also approve the new 2.5-mill police levy, it would cost the same homeowner another $77 per year in property taxes.

        • In other action from the trustee meeting this week, Dave Tacosik was elected to replace Jose Alvarez as trustee president. Mr. Alvarez will serve as vice president.

        Trustees also voted to schedule this year's Fun Fest community celebration for the weekend of June 30-July 1.


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