October 22, 2014

Elyria
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Township residents say no to forming police district

Voters in 16 of the county’s 18 townships decided Tuesday that they did not want to fund their own police district.

A 1.25-mill levy that would have set up a designated police district with 10 deputies, failed 8,959 to 11,022 or 45 percent to 55 percent, according to unofficial election returns.

The levy would have cost the owner of a $100,000 home $38 a year. It would have raised $1.3 million a year and the funds would have been entirely controlled by the district.

The tax issue went before voters in all of the townships with the exception of Columbia Township and LaGrange Township, who decided not to join the district.

Lorain County Sheriff Phil Stammitti said there were a lot of money issues on the ballot, and people probably were reluctant to approve new taxes.

“I was hoping the outcome would be different,” Stammitti said. “We’re disappointed, but realize that the economy is still tight right now.”

Sheriff’s Capt. James Drozdowski said he was grateful for the effort of numerous township officials, including Brownhelm Township’s fiscal officer, Marsha Funk, who chaired the levy effort.

Police district supporters spoke at a dozen events in the past month and a half, Drozdowski said.

It is undecided whether levy supporters would wage another campaign to form a police district in a future election, he said.

“We’ll regroup, sit down and think about it,” Drozdowski said.

In recent years, the county Commissioners cut back on road patrols after the economic downturn due to a budget crunch.

The sheriff’s office had 32 road deputies in 2008. Now Drozdowski said the sheriff’s office has 22 deputies on road patrol funded through the county’s general fund. The salary of one deputy is paid through a sexual predator grant and a federal grant is funding the salaries of three of the deputies for three years with an obligation through the county Commissioners to pay for the fourth year, he said.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.