A police levy is on the way for voters in Austintown

Trustees formally voted to place the continuing tax levy on the township's November 5 ballot. 

"Operating a full-time police department is quite expensive," explained Mark D'Apolito, Austintown Township Administrator. "We've faced increasing pressures due to inflation and other market disruptions that have occurred, post COVID-19," D'Apolito added.

An additional $2.2-2.3 million could go to the Austintown Police Department annually if voters approve a continuing 2.4 mill levy.

"We're facing the same inflation that everybody else is facing," explained Police Chief Robert Gavalier to 21 News. 

"This is all due to inflation," said Trustee Monica Deavers. "We feel that this is needed so it's up to you, the voter."

The dollars would go towards operating and technology costs, a continuing levy that D'Apolito believes could last 8-11 years.

"In the past, we would have passed a replacement or replacement with an increase," D'Apolito explained. "This is a general operating levy, wages for operating expenses. In the past, you would pass these as renewal and replacement but when you do that, you lose state rollback funds. We didn't want to give up the state funding so the most prudent thing to do is put on a new levy, which saves your previous state funding while allowing you to raise additional funds."

"It's operating dollars so it's expected that if anything, it grows with inflation," he explained. "But levies dont go with inflation. That's why we're back here asking for another levy."

D'Apolito explained a $100,000 home would cost the taxpayer about $84 per year if this levy were to pass.

"We have four officers that we have not replaced so we have cut back on officers," Chief Gavalier said. "We have written several grants. If the levy does pass, we will continue to do what we're doing and be able to keep up with inflation with the new equipment that we purchase every year. Technology is a big cost to us. We use technology a lot in fighting crime."

Trustees said they worked to make the levy as cost-efficient as possible, as CARES Act and ARPA funds aren't available moving forward.

This comes as the department collects $5.6 million from the township's four other continuing levies every year, according to D'Apolito. 

"We're going out to ask the public to support us," Chief Gavalier added. "And if they dont support us or if they can't afford it, we will continue to do the best job we can."

Election Day is scheduled for Tuesday, November 5.