Coitsville has passed a levy that will give an additional 5.5 mills for the township police department.

Township trustees say the department, in its current state, needed the additional money to hire new officers and increase officer pay.

In the 1990s the department says it was able to be fully staffed with 4 full-time and 16 part-time officers, but as the years went on and due to a more limited police budget, the current officer numbers sit at just two full-time and seven part-time officers.

In Coitsville, officers start out making $13.50 an hour and the department wants to offer higher pay to compete with neighboring departments.

According to the department, the starting rate of $13.50 an hour is the maximum amount the current budget will allow.

Youngstown, Vienna, and the Mahoning and Trumbull County Sheriffs Department all recently gave raises and increased starting pay to attract more candidates.

Trustee, Phyllis Johnson said, "In order to continue to provide the quality policing that we have been providing to our community, we felt we had no other choice."

According to a resident letter sent out by the township, "If the levy does not pass the department will not be able to maintain quality police protection with 24-hour coverage, 365 days a year, if we are not able to increase the wages for our police officers."

The township did receive money from the American Rescue Plan, however, those funds cannot be used toward salaries.

The police department had not asked residents for a tax increase since 2012.

At that time an additional 1.5 mills levy was passed.

The newly passed levy consists of a 5.5 mill increase to Coitsville property taxes.

It will raise on the average $100,000 home about 53 cents per day, which adds up to about $16.04 per month.

Along with an increase in officer pay, the money will also go toward cruiser maintenance and general operations.