Kasich backs removing obstacles to merger

This time, it was the highest-ranking government official in the state that said Hubbard, Hubbard Township and Brookfield have no reason to let obscure law get in the way of merging their police departments.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is an advocate of government efficiency through collaboration, sharing and consolidations. He recently learned about how officials from the three southeastern Trumbull County communities commissioned a study to assess a merged police department.

When the study was released, leaders in those communities pointed out that state law does not permit the merger because the townships fund law enforcement with a property tax and the city funds it with an income tax.

”That’s a detail,” Kasich said. ”If they want to eliminate that obstacle, we can eliminate that.”

Several other state officials said the same thing and State Rep. Sean O’Brien, D-Bazetta, is preparing legislation that would do just that. Those in leadership in Brookfield, Hubbard and Hubbard Township should move forward in a way that puts more officers on the street, reduces response time, and staves off the need to ask taxpayers for more money.

That’s probably a merged police department. When evaluating that idea, they should henceforth refrain from using the state law about funding as an obstacle.