Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Police levy passes - by 9 votes

Elections board certifies New Miami results

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEW MIAMI — Thanks to nine votes, this financially strapped village of some 2,500 people will be able to keep its police department — and start paying its six auxiliary officers.

        “I was sweating bullets. With a vote that close, it could have gone either way,” Acting Police Chief Duane Pelfrey said Tuesday, hours after Butler County elections officials certified the 5-mill levy's victory, 288-279.

        The levy had been hanging on by only one vote, 276-275, after the Nov. 6 election's unofficial results. Its margin of victory expanded to nine votes after officials added results of walk-in voters and late absentee ballots.

        Councilwoman Krystal Murray, who proposed the 5-mill levy, said, “I'm excited. We absolutely needed that levy — or that police department was going to have nothing but volunteers for another year.”

        The only paid officer is Chief Pelfrey, whose hourly wage is $11.

        His auxiliary officers had been paid about $8 per hour until eight months ago, when the village announced it didn't have the money to pay them anymore.

        Villagers had discussed hiring the Butler County Sheriff's Office to provide police protection. Spirited debate followed.

        Then council voted to put a 10-mill levy on the ballot — and Ms. Murray advanced a proposal to reduce the millage to a more affordable 5 mills.

        The levy will cost $143.12 a year for the owner of a $100,000 home — and many homes in New Miami are well below that valuation.

        Mrs. Murray hopes that the levy will allow the village to add another full-time officer and to pay the auxiliary officers about $30 per shift.


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