East Palestine again seeks renewal of police levy

EAST PALESTINE — Village officials hope voters support a 2-mill police levy renewal on the Nov. 8 election ballot.

The five-year levy generates $118,500 a year for the department and renewal would not increase taxes.

Police Chief Kevin Dickey said revenue from the levy pays for one full-time police officer and a police cruiser.

The department currently has a staff of six full-time officers, including the chief, and 10 part-time officers. Full time officers earn an entry level wage of $18.58, which tops out at $21.18 the sixth year of employment. Part time officers earn $9.79 at entry level and top out at $12.43 after 2,808 hours.

The tax levy was first approved by voters in 2006 and renewed since then, with revenue going toward wages, benefits and cruisers over the years, as well as an emergency generator in 2009 and equipment for cruisers in 2011.

The department operates on an annual budget of a little more than $700,000, with wages and benefits accounting for about 85 percent of the budget.

The renewal will also go toward continued participation on the county’s Drug Task Force and purchase of other police equipment.

“The passage of the levy is critical for the police department. It takes a substantial amount of levy to support a full time policeman and a police car. It’s not a lot of money but it certainly is critical to keep everything up and running,” Dickey said.

According to the most recent monthly activity report approved by village council, for the month of September the department handled 3 assault reports, 8 thefts, 7 domestics, 8 juvenile cases of truancy, unruliness or delinquency, 2 traffic crashes, 120 other reports and issued 45 traffic citations.

Parking ticket receipts totaled $102.50 for the month and the department also took in another $780 in other fines. Dispatchers handled 2,193 calls for the month.