Trustees, listen to the voice of Vienna voters

Vienna Township has done an excellent job of living within its means and has managed to allocate a $3.8 million inheritance tax windfall appropriately for current and future capital investments. We applaud the decision by trustees to avoid utilizing those funds for daily operating expenses.

Still, we question the need for an additional 1-mill police levy appearing on the general election ballot. The levy would generate an additional $90,000 annually that trustees say they will use to supplement existing police levies that, along with the general fund, pays for police operations. Trustees maintain that they are responding to residents’ desires for a police department that operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

We agree that Vienna Township officers do a fine job with limited resources and a very tight budget. But frankly, we aren’t convinced that crime rates in this small rural township (it covers about 24 square miles and has about 4,000 residents) warrant 24 / 7 local police coverage.

Trustees are intent on continuing to provide their residents community-police opportunities like senior-citizen welfare checks and business checks, and again, we applaud that desire. In response, we offer the suggestion of trimming back local police coverage and rely partially on the Trumbull County Sheriff’s Office. This approach might allow the township’s police officers to offer community-policing services while they are on duty but then rely on the Sheriff’s Office for police response in hours when the department is unstaffed.

Trustees note that residents have asked for full-time police coverage, yet it was the residents who have defeated this levy request the past few elections. Doesn’t that indicate otherwise? Consolidation and regionalization is a more realistic idea and one that voters will more likely embrace.

If voters decide to defeat the levy this time around, trustees should reconsider asking again and instead consider other regionalization efforts and cutting costs.