The Mad River Township Board of Trustees are asking voters to approve a .08 mill additional tax levy for a dedicated Clark County Deputy Sheriff to be assigned to the township for 40 hours per week. The levy which would be collected for five years beginning in January of 2018 will generate an estimated $152,727 per year according to the Clark County Auditor’s office.
Mad River Township Trustee President Kathy Estep reported at a recent meeting that she has formed a Political Action Committee and serves as the treasurer in support of the levy. “Hopefully our residents will see fit to support it” said Estep of the levy which was defeated by residents in November of 2016.
Estep reported over the past several months at trustee meetings that residents were confused by the ballot language which referred to the levy for “police” rather than “deputy”. It should be noted that residents of the Village of Enon will not vote on or pay for this increase. They are only responsible for taxes within the Village limits for local police coverage.
When asked about the request for additional taxes for the deputy being placed back on the ballot, Trustee Bob McClure stated that he did not want to “push added taxes on anyone” leaving it to the voter to decide. Trustee Joe Catanzaro stated that he agreed with Estep regarding the confusion of ballot language based on comments he heard from some residents. He suggested at the October 2, 2017 trustee meeting that he had not been in favor of putting the request on the ballot again but also agreed with McClure that it was up to the voters to decide.
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office estimates the cost of the deputy contract to be $103,000 per year. This figure is based on the possibility that when the mandatory bid for the position is open to members of the department, it could be awarded to a member at a high level on the pay scale with a family benefit package in place.
The township will continue to receive 24/7 road patrol coverage from the Sheriff’s Department. The addition of a township specific deputy according to Estep would be to provide assistance to the trustees regarding nuisance properties, speeding and other day to day patrol.
The township would also be responsible to provide and maintain the vehicle and equipment for the deputy. The township has the equipment from the former deputy contract that expired last year in storage according to the Fiscal Officer. It is unknown what will need to be updated or added if the levy is approved.
In a response from her office, Sheriff Burchett valued the previous contract with the department and would welcome a new agreement. Her office did confirm that whatever the voters decide, the township will continue to receive 24/7 coverage.
The .08 mill levy requested in November 2016 was to replace a .05 mill levy that generated an estimated $83,000 per year which did not provide enough funding to meet the annual costs for the contracted deputy services and equipment. Trustees began debating a new levy in August of 2016. When voters did not approve new funds, the contract expired on December 31, 2016. The estimated yearly cost for the deputy and equipment was $102,000 per year by the Fiscal Officer in 2016.
The Clark County Auditor estimates the cost to the owner of a $100,000 house to be $28 per year if voters approve the .08 mill levy Issue 21 on November 7, 2017.