SPRINGFIELD TWP.  The Springfield Township Board of Trustees approved a resolution to proceed to place an additional 1.25 mill levy on the May 7 ballot for the operation of the Police Department.

Township Administrator Warren Price spoke to the board about the levy.

“The Police Department financial situation is dire, to be frank," he said. "This year, with all available resources, the Police Department is positioned to be about $80,000 in the hole.”

Price pointed out that it is in an environment, since Police Chief Dave Hoover reassumed the office in June 2016, that cuts have been made. In 2016, there were 23 full time and 6 part-time officers and now there are 12 full time and 8 part-time.

“That is the lowest strength the department has had in 25 years," Price said.

He said they appreciate the residents stepping up and passing the renewal levies. Those levies were first passed in 1993. Price said the department is still working under the 1993 level of collection. There has been no additional revenue to the department.

Dispatching costs are increasing by $14,000.

“There is really nothing we can do about it,” he said.

The Sheriff’s Department raised the cost but the township is researching other options.

The Police Department has cut back on some services to the community already. A major issue is cruisers in which, Price said, the newest one has about 50,000 miles on it which is about 30,000 miles away from where the State Highway Patrol would be retiring a vehicle. He said the second-best cruiser is pushing 100,000 miles.

“We are using cruisers that should be off the road," Price said.

The community is stepping up in the fact it has raised money to get the K-9 unit back. Price said they have looked at cost cutting which includes examining dispatch, not ordering new vehicles, limiting patrols and have all custody issues and civil matters dealt with at the station.

“The levy would maintain our status quo operation. We need a new cruiser, really two now," Price said. "We have not replaced the captain’s position and that is tough for the sergeants to try to pick that up. We would replace two full time positions."

The overall police yearly operations cost is $2.75 million and what we take in is about $2 million.

Price said the township asked for several different scenarios within the county before deciding on the levy amount.

“We have a great department here and it is community oriented,” Price said.

Other actions

- During the meeting, a motion was made to adopt the contract with the State Infrastructure Bank and the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) to obtain funds for the completion of the streetscape portion of the Canton Road and State Route 224 corridor project. The approval of the motion was held to a future meeting to give time to trustees to discuss the final figures before they vote for approval.

The $8 million project will change the intersection of the two roads, as they will be reconstructed. The estimated cost for lightening and streetscape is $680,000 for the communities of Lakemore and Springfield.  The State Infrastructure Bank gives low interest loans for such projects and $400,000 of grant money will be applied and the local share. Lakemore’s share being 25 percent and Springfield’s at 75 percent.

The next regular meeting will be held at 6 p.m., Feb. 14 at the Town Hall on Canfield Road.