COVENTRY TWP. The township's safety forces will be able to maintain current levels follwoing the passages of two levies during the May 2 primary.
Voters approved Issue 7, a 2.5-mill policing levy with an increase of 1.5 mills, and Issue 8, a 2.25-mill renewal for the fire department.
The township has one deputy on patrol per-shift through a contract with the Summit County Sheriff's Office. Had the levy failed, the township would have gone several days per week, for several hours per day, without police protection.
The cost for police protection in the township has risen to $756,089 per year. Before the passage of the additional millage Tuesday, the existing levy only brought in $565,380, a shortfall of nearly $200,000, and the township had to take money from the general fund to cover the difference.
Trustee Edward Diebold, who said he couldn't imaging losing a portion of the police protection, said passing both levies created for a fantastic feeling, adding that officials' communication with residents paid off.
"We have been hammering the general fund," Diebold said. "We finally got the bleeding stopped and that feels great."
The levy passage will now allow the township to pay for the entire police contract using the police levy and not have to drain money from the general fund. Diebold said between the passage of the police levy this year and the fire and roads levies in previous years, all the services will have standalone money and not have to be covered by the general fund.
Coventry Fiscal Officer Robert Saffian said the passage of the police levy take a burden off the general fund.
"I want to thank everyone for voting for it," Saffian said. "We are all thrilled and happy everything went through."
Trustee Richard Kutuchief said he is really grateful the community came together and went the extra mile to support these issues.
Kutuchief said it takes a lot of work to pass levies and the trustees worked hard to make sure everyone know the financial state of the township. With the passage of the levies, he said now the trustees can shift their focus to other township issues.
"A lot of people came out and worked hard to deliver information so our community was in the know," Kutuchief said.