On Tuesday, Nov. 3, we the legislative body of the village of Anna will ask the registered voters of our town to vote yes on a levy to ensure we can maintain our local Police Separtment.
This 1/4 of a percent levy on our working people’s income will enable us to hire a second full-time police officer as well as providing us with the needed funds for a different police cruiser, when it is needed. We will also be using this for equipment and upkeep of the department, in the future.
A village of our size (1,567 people and 35 businesses) and a school of more than 1,200 students and 50 employees is our main concern. We are responsible for the safety and well-being of all of these individuals.
At present, we have only one full-time officer plus five auxiliary officers who are only able to come in at their convenience because they have full-time employment elsewhere. Their schedules allow them to work some nights and hours on the weekends.
The highly recommended ratio of one full-time police officer for each 600 people is what we are striving for. By continuing to employ our auxiliary police, as needed, we would be able to cover most of the hours of the week with one officer on duty at all times.
Our police force is paid for through our general fund, which has been drastically reduced in the past few years, because of the following:
1. Income from the state of Ohio reductions, in order to balance the budget, has cost us dearly. The lost revenue is $30,000 per year.
2. People working in Sidney, but living in Anna, are now contributing a 1/4 percent tax to Sidney, because of Sidney’s new street repair levy, which passed in 2014. That 1/4 percent used to go to Anna’s general fund. The lost revenue is approximately $24,000 per year.
3. Much higher health insurance costs for all of our village employees. The lost revenue is $58,000 per year.
4. House Bill 5 (income tax changes). The lost revenue is $14,000 per year.
5. Inheritance and personal property tax since 2012. The lost revenue is $7,000.
We are trying to be as frugal as possible. Recently, we cut our fiscal officer job from full time to part time with a savings of $20,000. We have also hired a part-time tax administrator rather than sending our tax collection, bookkeeping and follow-up on delinquents to an outside source. This “in-house” agent will save us another $15,000.
Some time ago we had a group of very concerned Anna residents who passed petitions for signatures to keep our own Police Department. More than 500 signatures were obtained showing a tremendous positive attitude in keeping our department. We can now achieve exactly what you wanted at that time of the signing.
Please show your pride in your village and its Police Department by voting yes on Nov. 3.
The writer is the mayor of Anna.