WEATHERSFIELD TWP., Ohio (WKBN) – Today, we went to Weathersfield to learn more about the safety forces levy on Tuesday’s ballot. Both the fire and police chiefs were out on incidents but two trustees stepped in to fill us in on what it entails and why it’s on the ballot.
“Everybody knows it’s difficult to run their own home on the money that they were using from 2013, and that’s essentially what we’re doing right now. That was the last fire money that we had,” said trustee Ed Whittaker.
The safety forces levy would help support the day-to-day operation of the police department, from equipment to staffing. Whittaker says their top priority is safety and protecting young people.
“This is going to enable us to get back to 11 full-time officers. It’s going to enable us to keep two full-time safety resource officers, which we have a great partnership with Weathersfield Local Schools. We just added a second full-time officer at our K-6 building — that’s Seaborn Elementary — and we have one at Mineral Ridge High School full-time as well,” Whittaker said.
The money would also help replace aging police cruisers, along with a 29-year-old pump truck and 10 sets of expiring turnout gear for the firefighters.
Trustee Steven Gerberry says the last time they got additional money for the police department was in 1998.
“We think we’ve done a good job running those departments on money from ’98 and ’13 respectively, but it’s difficult to keep going with the inflation and everything we’re facing,” Gerberry said.
The median home value in Weathersfield Township is $103,000. At a fixed rate going forward, this additional, continuous levy would cost the owner of a home at that value $147 more a year.
“You do your best to provide the service that you can for as long as you can before you go back to taxpayers and ask them to continue to support,” Whittaker said.
Whittaker says he believes this levy is an investment in the community and in supporting those who keep everyone safe.