Harrison Council Approves Levy Issue; Voters Will Decide Nov. 4
By Mike Perleberg
(Harrison, Oh.) – Voters in Harrison will get to decide on a public safety funding levy in November.
Harrison City Council unanimously approved on June 3 a five-year levy to help keep the city’s police, fire, and EMS services at their current levels. If it earns voter approval on November 4th, the levy would provide $1.05 million in funding each of the next five years.
While safety services would largely be maintained, taxes would increase. The 4.8 mill levy would raise home property taxes by $168 for every $100,000 in valuation. A $200,000 home would see $336 in new taxes.
Harrison’s fire and police expenses have increased 8.5 percent since 2008, according to a presentation by the levy committee chaired by Harrison Chief of Police Charles Lindsey. Over the same time, revenues have decreased from the elimination of estate taxes and less in property tax distributions.
In 2013, the city had to lay off one full time firefighter and all firefighters have experienced a four-year pay freeze. At the Harrison Police Department last year, one full-time officer was laid off, a departing officer was not replaced, four part-timers were laid off, and officers and police clerks are in their fourth and second years of pay freezes, respectively.
The levy, if approved, would allow the city to rehire the laid off employees from 2013, plus add one additional firefighter, according to the presentation. The police department could assign an office to the Drug Task Force, add a bike and foot patrol. Both departments would also be able to fund capital improvements over the five years.