The villages of Genoa and Clay Center and Allen and Clay townships budgeted a combined total of slightly more than $1 million for police service in 2008 – about $219,361 more than they actually spent, according to a report commissioned by the four communities, which are studying the feasibility of forming a joint police district.
The report, compiled by Circuit Rider Management Group, Granville, O., was presented last week to members of the Joint Law Enforcement Commission (JLEC), a group of elected officials from the four jurisdictions.
A 5-mill property levy in the villages and townships would generate about $817,573 a year – about $19,000 more than they actually spent in 2008 for police protection, the report says. The levy figure is based on the current property valuation in the proposed district, which is about $168.1 million.
The report includes a sample annual budget for a proposed district. It estimates the district would initially spend about $32,000 on administration, which would largely cover expenses for a district board of trustees and a clerk.
The hypothetical budget allocates $652,721 for operating expenses:
• Full-time salaries - $338,803
• Overtime - $27,880
• Part-time salaries - $65,416
• Employer’s pension contribution - $66,370
• Worker’s compensation - $22,353
• Unemployment - $11,667
• Medicare (full-time employees) - $5,317
• FICA for part-time employees - $5,004
• Health insurance - $52,857
The budget doesn’t include a figure for capital outlays.
With the combined operating and administrative expenses of $684,089, the budget would have a projected balance of about $133,484.
The pay levels for full-time officers were based on the average pay in 2008 for officers in Genoa and Clay Township at each rank. Pay estimates for part-time officers were based on a $13 hourly rate for four officers working 24 hours a week.
The report doesn’t include a recommendation as to who should be named chief of a joint district but notes a board of trustees would at least consider the current full-time chiefs in Genoa and Clay Township.
Current officers from the various departments would be the first to be hired if a district is formed.
‘It has been the intention by the committee from its inception that the new district will employ the current officers,” the report says. “All current employees of current police departments will have to re-apply for employment with the new district since it will be a new organization an all prospective employees will have to meet all statutory and administrative requirements for employment as a police officer in Ohio.”
The report cites an opinion by Ottawa County Prosecutor Mark Mulligan that the district would enforce current ordinances in Genoa and Clay Center and state laws as they exist in the townships and villages.
“Officers will have to be familiar with all laws and ordinances as they apply in both incorporated and unincorporated areas,” the report says, adding Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton has expressed support for a joint district but there is a possibility the Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association might oppose
the “enabling legislation” that would be required to form the district.
State Representative Dennis Murray attended the July meeting of the JLEC and later contacted the Legislative Service Commission so it could begin a draft of the required legislation.
Dave Fryman, a member of Genoa Village Council and chairman of JLEC, described the report as a “very thorough examination.”
He said Circuit Rider Management Group will also be retained to conduct a survey of residents in the affected jurisdictions.
“Now we want to see what people think about the idea,” Fryman said, adding a joint district appears to be feasible.
The JLEC is scheduled to meet Dec. 17 in Allen Township.
Other JLEC members are Dan Johnson, an Allen Township trustee; Don Hoeft, a Clay Township trustee, and Bob Purney, mayor of Clay Center.
The Clay Township Police Department includes one full-time chief, three full-time officers, two part-time officers, and a few auxiliary officers.
Hoeft this summer said a joint district could provide more extensive coverage at less cost.
The Genoa department has six officers, including a full-time chief.
The Clay Center department has a part-time chief, two part-time officers, and a few auxiliary officers.
Allen Township doesn’t have a police department. In 2008, it spent $48,000 for dedicated patrols of 32 hours a week by sheriff’s deputies, according to the report.
For fire and emergency medical service, the two villages and two townships are served by the Allen-Clay Joint Fire District, which was established in 1999.