Lake Twp.: Options for police budget under discussion

Larry Limpf

Operating costs of the Lake Township Police Department have increased over the past few years while revenues from property tax levies have remained flat, Mark Hummer, police chief, said last week after the township trustees approved a transfer of $200,000 from the general fund to the department for 2020.
Chief Hummer said he’s been conferring with Vicki Schwamberger, the township fiscal officer, about the department’s finances and what options are available, including placing a levy on the ballot this year.
This year, the department budget is about $1.6 million. Three levies dedicated to fund the department collect a total of 8.3 mills and bring in about $1.3 million annually.
Schwamberger said the 4-mill, 2.9-mill and 1.4-mill are continuous and went into effect in 2002, 2007 and 2012 respectively. Consequently, the dollars they collect reflect property values from those years and not current valuations.
Last year, the trustees temporarily advanced $100,000 from the general fund to the department, Schwamberger said, adding the advance to the department was refunded to the general fund but the transfer this year is permanent.
Chief Hummer said the department “is not in a critical situation” but asking for another levy is a possibility.
He said the department’s personnel roster has remained at the same level since he took office nearly 16 years ago and, while emergency call volume hasn’t risen sharply, many of the calls stem from complex issues such as the opiate addiction problem.
Schwamberger said the township is negotiating with the Lake school board and administration about sharing the cost of having a school resource officer at the school campus. Currently, the township is funding the position, she said.
In other business, the trustees approved personnel changes in the fire department, accepting the resignation of Ray Lee, who’s been a member of the department since 2005, and hiring Matthew Schluete and Daniel Pereira as a probationary part-time paramedic and an emergency medical technician respectively.
Fire chief Bruce Moritz said Lee’s full-time position with the Special Operations Bureau of the City of Toledo Fire & Rescue Department is taking more of his time and he’s also working with the Lucas County Coroner’s office.
Trustee Richard Welling said Lee is “a dedicated individual. It’s sad to see him leave.”
The trustees met in executive session to discuss personnel issues in the fire department but took no action.


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