Police levy back on November ballot

Jonathan Wright - [email protected]
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ABERDEEN, Ohio — The long debated police levy in Aberdeen has been placed on the November ballot for round two.

The Aberdeen Village Council approved the second reading of an ordinance to put the police levy back on the ballot for the Nov. 6 election. Should the levy be approved by the public, around $55,000 a year will be supplied to the Aberdeen Police Department to use for their own purposes.

“It’s a necessity to run our police department.” said Village Council Member Billie Eitel, referring to the levy. “We need the revenue.”

Eitel said the levy will be added to residents’ property tax, where the funds gathered will be used exclusively by the police department for anything from salaries to equipment and training.

The levy has been a hot button topic among residents of Aberdeen, with a near 60-40 split among voters during the primary election on May 8. According to the poll results, Aberdeen voters ultimately voted 179-129 against the levy; 58 percent of voters voted against, and 42 percent of voters voted for.

Proponents of the levy said that it is needed to continue funding the Aberdeen Police Department efficiently while also helping the village fund a new police and administration building. Opponents of the measure alleged that the tax was too hefty on some Aberdeen citizens.

This current iteration of the levy is not a carbon copy of its predecessor, however, as Eitel said the amount of the ordinance has now reduced the levy to 3 mills per year for a continuing period. A 3 mill levy on a market value home of a $100,000 would be $91.86 annually or $45.93 every six months.

As mentioned previously, the dollar amount the council expects to procure will be around $55,000. By comparison, the previous levy ordinance was set for 5 mills per year, equating to a rate of $5 for each $1,000 of valuation.

“We do not have any present levies,” said Eitel in February. “We have a 1 percent income tax, but that’s only because the state mandates that.”

According to the council, Aberdeen collected $125,973 in income taxes in 2017.

At the time, Eitel said, “$130,000 will not run a police department. That pays for salaries. You still have operating and maintenance costs.”

Despite the recent down vote of the previous levy in May, Eitel said she is hopeful about the November election, and the citizens of Aberdeen’s confidence in their police department.

“This levy will solely support Chief Benjamin and his officers so the village will hopefully be able to support and maintain a department of the caliber that Chief Benjamin is creating for our village,” she said.

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Jonathan Wright

[email protected]