One of two Amelia police levies fails at polls

May 7th, 2010    Author: Brett A. Roller    Filed Under: News

Village of Amelia residents will continue to see limited police coverage after a 7 mill replacement levy expected to raise $145,000 annually was voted down by eight votes Tuesday night.

A 3 mill renewal levy expected to raise about $23,000 for the police department passed.

“Naturally we are disappointed,” Amelia Mayor Leroy Ellington said. “We will continue to have concerns for public safety and officer safety in the village.”

The 7 mill levy failed 190 or 48.97 percent votes for to 198 or 51.03 percent votes against. The 3 mill levy passed 222 votes or 56.49 percent for to 171 or 43.51 percent against.

The village is one of the fastest growing communities in the county and village officials were hoping to raise funds to grow the police department as well.

"Our calls for service have increased 14 percent annually and we've average about 96 people a year for the last several years," Ellington said. "Meanwhile our police staffing has gone down. We have had officers leave and we were not able to replace them."

In addition to increased staffing, the additional funds were to be used to purchase bullet proof vests and weapons for the Amelia officers as well as additional training. Police Chief Jeffrey Sucher said he would have liked to replace aging cruisers as well.

Ellington said passing the 3 mill levy will benefit the department, but the village's goal was to pass both levies.

"I do want to thank the citizens. We appreciate the additional 3 mils and we appreciate the efforts of our Political Action Committee Amelia Residents for Safety," Ellington said. "But we believe it was in the best interest of public safety to pass both levies."

Ellington said he thought the village made every effort to provide all of the facts of the situation to the residents. He said there were never any serious remarks made against the levies at either of the town hall meetings.

"We presented the appropriate facts and ultimately the citizens have chosen the service levels they are comfortable paying for," Ellington said.

The 7 mill levy was last passed in 1999 and will continue to raise funds for the department based on 1999 land values. The 3 mill levy was last passed in 2005.

"We will continue to provide the best service possible," Ellington said. "Non-passage will not result in additional officers."

He said the Amelia Police Department budget will be discussed by the village finance committee and the village council. He said it would be up to council to decide to try to pass the levy again in November.

"The need for revenue will not go away," Ellington said.
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