Levy would finance construction of administration building

LaCROFT — With so many problems that have been experienced by residents and officials, Liverpool Township Trustees are hoping residents will say yes to a new administration building.

Residents will have the chance during the Nov. 8 general election to cast their votes on an additional five-year, 3 mills permanent improvement levy, to which money will go toward the construction and maintenance of a new facility which will house the township’s administrative offices and police department.

The new facility, should the levy pass, will be built along Ada Street, across from the current township administration building and behind the Liverpool Township Fire Department’s LaCroft station.

Throughout the year, trustees have discussed the condition of the current building during several meetings and have voiced several major concerns. One of the biggest problems experienced by trustees, police officers and residents alike have been the location and size of the police headquarters.

The police department’s offices are located on the second floor of the Ada Street building, which was built in 1978, and the only way to access the department’s offices are by climbing a flight of stairs, which has given residents who are elderly and/or disabled serious trouble. Trustee Chairman Keith Burke said that, at the time of its construction, handicap accessibility had not been taken into consideration as much as it is needed for today.

“The building’s not suited for that (handicap accessibility) at the time it was built in the 70s,” Burke said. “It wasn’t really pushed at the time. They had x-amount of money. As you can see, the building is a small building. We do need to expand because of the building for our patrolman to go ahead and people come in, instead of having people go up the steps.

“Sometimes when you’re dealing with people, it’s tough to get them up and down the steps no matter what’s going on with them. It does make a situation for that.”

Burke also noted that with the large amount of electronics that have now been used in today’s business, the need for a new facility is crucial as the building has run out of room to utilize the equipment.

“We need to update electric and things like that because you’re using a lot more electronic stuff than we did back then,” Burke said.

Another major problem for the police department has been the amount of space needed to apprehend suspects, particularly in multiple-arrest instances. Trustee Mike Bahen said the current administration building lacks holding cells to separate the parties, and also serves as a safety risk for the community.

“At this point, it’s a safety factor for the police officers because if they have a domestic with multi-family members,” Trustee Mike Bahen said. “They bring them here, they only have one choice. One of the family members, they can cuff them to the seat/bench, then they have to take the other one upstairs to separate them. We have no holding cells here. The person sitting at the bench, if more family members come for officers’ safety, the person has reach to open the door.

“It’s a safety factor if they have a person that’s drunk. They have to take him upstairs. If that person decides to kick backwards and kick him and the officers down the steps, we’re looking at a big lawsuit.”

Other issues that have been addressed include the size of the restrooms–which trustees have said is not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accessible, poor lighting and  poor heating

According to trustees, the new facility would alleviate the problems of the current building, which would serve as a one-floor facility and provide much easier access for elderly and disabled residents. It would also solve the problem of room for the police department as they would have holding cells, storage facilities for evidence and other matters.

Trustees have already hired an architectural firm–Baker, Bednar, Snyder and Associates of Warren–to handle the construction of the facility, and blueprints have been placed on the wall inside the meeting hall for the public to see. Open houses have also taken place for the residents to view the current facility and also to discuss the building with the trustees and police.

If approved, the levy will generate an annual income for the township of $248,400 for the next five years, and will also result in an increase of taxpayers’ dollars depending on the cost of their homes.

Residents with a $40,000 home value would pay an additional $42 in taxes per year, while those with a $150,000 home would pay an additional $157.70 annually. It would also result in an increase of $52.50 per year for a $50,000 home; $63 for a $60,000 home; $73.50 for a $70,000 home; $84 for an $80,000 home, $94.50 for a $90,000 home and $105 for a $100,000 home.