Howland to put 1.5-mill police levy on Nov. ballot

HOWLAND – Township trustees are likely to place a new, 1.5-mill continuous police levy on the November ballot.

“The three of us trustees were in agreement that it was something that was definitely needed,” trustee Rick Clark said of a public discussion Wednesday between himself and trustees Matthew Vansuch and James LaPolla.

The board’s next regular meeting is in June.

Township police chief Nick Roberts pitched the idea of a new levy at the trustees meeting in February, saying that the last police levy approved in the township was a replacement levy in 2012 ä 10 years ago.

The proposed levy would generate around $686,200 and cost a taxpayer $52.50 for every $100,000 in tax valuation, the chief said.

Roberts said the levy money would help the department hire another officer, bringing it up to full staff and alleviating overtime costs, and would also be used for training and equipment. The staff roster on the township’s website now lists 19 personnel, including the chief and assistant chief.

The police department uses UAN, or Uniform Accounting Network, which asks the department to carry over 20 percent of its budget into the next year in order to cover its first three months of operation.

“Unfortunately, each year we’re falling short,” Roberts said.

In 2021, the department fell $132,000 short of its carryover goal, and in 2022, it fell $318,000 short.

Roberts said the department has been fortunate to cover some recent expenses with American Rescue Plan funding and in the past two years covered some officer sick time with COVID-19 relief money, but that funding source won’t be able to sustain a police department in the future.

He added that he has made as many cuts as possible without jeopardizing the safety of the community or his officers, and he knows this is a hard time to ask for money with inflation and high gas prices affecting everyone.

“We hope our residents and business owners feel the same and will support our efforts so we can continue to provide our officers with tools, training and equipment to keep our community safe for years to come,” Robert said.

For more on Howland trustees action, read Saturday’s Tribune Chronicle.


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