The Plain City Police Department will gain a few more officers.
Village council members approved the addition of a police levy on the November ballot at a special council meeting Monday night.
The measure, passed as an emergency, will be a replacement of the existing 5 mill levy and revenue from the measure will allow the department to hire additional patrol officers.
“Right now, the levy is collecting at 3 mills and change,” said Village Administrator Nathan Cahall. “So in looking at this on a macro level, this replacement, if passed by the voters, would recognize the increase in overall property valuation in the village that has occurred for the last 14 years.”
He said with the increase in annual property tax collections, the village should see an estimated $105,000 in additional revenue, according to numbers from the Auditor’s Office.
Council passed the resolution in emergency, as the filing deadline to the board of elections is Aug. 7.
The levy appearing on the November ballot will allow the police department to hire more officers right away, something that Police Chief Dale McKee said the village desperately needs.
“This levy will allow us to work toward where we need to be but we haven’t grown in officers for more than a decade,” McKee said, adding the police department staff has been at the same number since before 2005. “The levy would allow us to bring on another full-time officer and maybe a part-time one.”
In a previous conversation with council, McKee said he considered using the department’s reserve funds to pay for an additional officer.
“We’re just at the point where we need the extra officers whether we have a levy on the ballot or not,” he said. “It looks like with the levy passing, paying out of the reserves might not be necessary.”
He noted many of the police departments in surrounding municipalities that are of a similar size to Plain City have more officers and in some cases as many as twice the number of officers of the PCPD.
“We’re doing the same work as some of these other agencies and with half the people,” McKee said. “With the growth of this village, this is just something that needs to happen.”
Currently, the department operates with nine full-time commissioned police officers including the chief, a lieutenant, a sergeant, a detective and five patrol officers.
The department also has a part-time officer who has a full-time job elsewhere and a part-time administrative assistant.
With the current staffing, the department is only able to cover 34, eight-hour shifts, which is eight shifts less than needed, McKee said.
He added the levy passage would allow him to have an officer on the street by this fall and start the process of hiring another.
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