Howland to place police levy on ballot

1.5-mill tax would bring department up to full staff, as well as get new equipment

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 the last police levy approved in the township was a replacement levy in 2012 — 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 also would 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 sustain a police department in the future.

He added 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.

Trustees likely will give the levy request a first reading in June and approve it in July, Clark said.

In other business, trustees at their Wednesday meeting:

• Increased part-time Public Works Department seasonal employees’ hourly rate from $9.27 to $10.50 and hired part-time seasonal employees Lane Goble and Zachary Brill on an as-needed basis;

• Accepted the retirement of part-time postal clerk Patty Davis, effective June 16, and hired Erna Weber as a part-time postal clerk at $10.59 per hour with no benefits, as needed, effective April 27;

• Accepted the resignation of part-time township events coordinator Alex Cornicelli, effective May 23, and hired Aubrie Manley to the position at $15 per hour with no benefits, as needed, effective May 9;

• Hired Lori Stull as a part-time substitute administrative assistant for the township’s fire, police and public works departments, effective June 1, at $15 per hour with no benefits, as needed;

• Accepted the resignation of fire training instructor James Williamson, effective May 1;

• Declared the following properties nuisances: 3448 Beechwood Ave., 3254 Crestview Ave. SE, 8141 Castle Rock Drive NE, 8848 King Graves Road, 6060 Mines Road, 2878 Niles Vienna Road, 2915 North Road, 8618 Old Orchard Ave., 3478 Overlook Ave., 3479 Overlook Drive, 3273 Valacamp Ave., 3589 Valacamp Ave., 3709 Valacamp Ave. and 2699 Fairview Ave.;

• Approved Howland to be a part of a multi-jurisdictional grant for the Trumbull County Broadband Preliminary Study. The Western Reserve Port Authority is the lead agency, and Howland has committed a 16 percent match up to $5,000;

• Approved purchasing an $89,638 2023 International dump truck body and plow assembly from the Gledhill Road Machinery Co. through the state cooperative purchasing program; and

• Approved purchasing a $32,670 asphalt heat box from Southeastern Equipment Co., through the Sourcewell Government Discount Program, which is cheaper than state cooperative purchasing.


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