Friday, August 24, 2001

Township asking for levies

By Sue Kiesewetter
Enquirer Contributor

        SPRINGFIELD TWP. — Staffing in Springfield Township's police and fire departments would gradually increase over five years if voters approve two levies trustees have placed on the Nov. 6 ballot.

        The police levy includes 7.61 mills to replace a 1997 levy and 2.5 additional mills. It would raise $5,466,221 annually, an increase of about $1.86 million.

        The money would be used for day-to-day expenses and equipment, said Township Administrator Michael Hinnenkamp. The five-year plan for the department includes the hiring of four or five officers, which would bring the department to 45 or 46 full-time sworn officers.

        That staffing level is well below the 75-80 officers in most departments serving a community of nearly 40,000, Mr. Hinnenkamp said. But by creative scheduling of officers, the nationally accredited township police department is able to provide service at lower staffing levels than the average.

        Voters also will be asked to approve a fire levy that includes 4.5 mills to replace a 1997 levy, along with 3.5 additional mills. Funding for the department, if the levy is approved, would increase from $2.1 million to almost $4.3 million annually.

        The money, Mr. Hinnenkamp said, would be used for day-to-day expenses, to purchase equipment and to hire 15 to 18 full-time firefighter/paramedics over five years.

        “We can't find enough part-time firefighters to fill all the shifts,” Mr. Hinnenkamp said. “There are some shifts that go unstaffed. Departments all over the county are having the same problem.”


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