Vienna should look for ways to tighten belt

Residents in Vienna Township – among the least populous townships in Trumbull County to enjoy its own police department – have become accustomed to 24-7 police protection.

Vienna trustees and police Chief Andrew Pecchio are quick to point out that the police department of 13 officers, including two full-time and 11 part-time, has helped maintain low crime rates in Vienna. They also point out the need to supply quality officers to the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport as a contracted service.

Among the 13 officers is one that operates a D.A.R.E. program in the schools.

While it is understandable trustees and police want to maintain the current police department operations, we are not convinced of an absolute need to increase the township’s property taxes by 1.5 mills for police protection, and therefore, we cannot endorse the levy.

This small community with a population of about 3,825 already employs more officers than most communities its size. In fact, none of the other Trumbull County townships that are of similar populations have full-time police service.

Like all local communities, Vienna has seen its portion of local government funds from the state cut by more than half in the last six years, from $67,755 in 2009 to $35,704 in 2014. Also like all communities – and all budget-conscious Americans – financial sacrifice has become a daily affair.

We are glad to see the township officials have wisely opted against allocating the millions of dollars they collected in a high-profile inheritance tax case to day-to-day expenses. Rather, trustees said they are focusing those dollars on future capital expenditures.

Still, we are adamant that we would like to see more attempts at belt-tightening before township officials head to the taxpayers who are equally cash-strapped to make up lost funds.