Ohio town looks to levies for police and fire services to help budget defecits www.privateofficer.com
FAIRBORN OH June 29 2011 — The Fairborn City Council is considering putting two 4.4-mill levies for police and fire services on the November ballot.
City officials say Fairborn would face more than a $1.8 million deficit in 2012 if current levies expire and no new levies are passed this fall.
They said subsequent cuts would hamper safety services and possibly result in job losses, furloughs and/or trying to negotiate pay cuts.
“We are bare bones,” Fairborn City Manager Deborah McDonnell said during Monday night’s special session of the city council. “We don’t have a lot of fat (to cut).”
As a group, the council leaned toward separate police and fire levies, based in part because of residents’ comments about what would be palatable to voters. The council will consider a motion July 25 and again will accept residents’ comments.
A spreadsheet simulator showed how different numbers in police, fire, street light and general fund millage affected the 2012 and later budgets.
The separate, dedicated 4.4-mill levies for police and fire would be needed to avoid deficits. That would amount to an additional $17.24 per month ($135 per year) for the owner of a $100,000 home.
One budget scenario with no new money coming in presumed that the police, fire and general fund each would each be cut an equal amount.
Police Chief Terry Barlow said a $500,000 cut to his department likely would mean trimming four sworn officers from the staff of 40 and one from the staff of five non-sworn officers.
Barlow said his department has been reduced from around 67 people to what could be 48 in less than two years. Compounding the staffing issue is that since the Fairborn jail closed, officers must take suspects to Xenia, which takes at least an hour to drive plus processing time.
Barlow also noted the Internet predator initiative has been dropped, as have bicycle patrol and one of two Fairborn spots from the county’s drug task force. He also said while staff has decreased, police calls have increased from 14,143 in 1985 to 35,194 in 2010.
Fairborn Fire Chief Mike Riley said that if his department were cut much more than $500,000, he likely would need to lay off two people, permanently close Station 2 and run Station 3 only as staffing permitted.
The department has 48 firefighters, but would need 52 to keep all four stations fully operational.
A 9.9-mill levy that the city said was to be used for mostly police and fire services was soundly defeated in November 2010.
Source:Dayton Daily News