Jerusalem Township Trustee Joe Kiss is optimistic that the board of trustees will be able to tackle how police services will be provided to the community.
Kiss said the board of trustees, with two new trustees taking their seats in January, will be appointing six people to a steering committee comprised of residents, business owners or managers, and others who have a stake in the community to review the township’s options.
“The sheriff stated he was going to have a car on the east and west side. We don’t know what amount of coverage that means. So we’re going to wait and see what happens once January 1 rolls around,” said Kiss. “But we decided to go ahead with the steering committee. We want to be proactive with the situation. We don’t want to be weeks and months behind on what we should do. The steering committee will be in place next year. They will start researching whether we should have our own police department, stay with the sheriff, or find ways to pay the sheriff.”
The township will continue to provide a substation at the town hall for sheriff’s deputies.
Voters last month rejected by over a two to one margin a 3.5-mill, one year police levy that would have raised revenue to pay the sheriff to continue patrols in the township.
The township currently receives sheriff’s patrols at no charge from Lucas County. That will end on Jan. 1. To maintain sheriff patrols, Jerusalem Township, which has a population of 3,181 within a 30.4 square mile area, would have to pay the sheriff $347,000 annually.
Lucas County commissioners last summer notified nine unincorporated areas in the county, including Jerusalem Township, that they will have to pay for sheriff’s patrols due to budgetary constraints, or the sheriff will only respond to 911 calls.
Commissioners had agreed to allow the township to pay just 65 percent of $347,000 for the first year, 80 percent the second year, then 100 percent the third year had the levy passed.
Without the $347,000, the sheriff will only respond to emergency calls and will no longer patrol the township.
Kiss said the township, which has a $1.7 million budget, just can’t afford it.
“We’re going to continue to look at what it would take to maybe get our own police department going,” said Kiss.
A few people have shown interest in being on the committee, he added.
Anyone interested in being on the steering committee should contact Kiss at 419-466-9754.