June 30, 2016

Mostly clear

Contract good deal for Lafayette Township

It would be ideal if every community could have its own police department, its own fire department and provide its own public services across the board.
But, geographically speaking, Medina County is shrinking. Communities that formerly were more isolated and distinct are growing closer every day as homes and businesses spring up between them. In addition, faced with the increased demand for services that growth brings, residents see the need to hold the line on taxes. Over and over, taxpayers have sent the same message to their elected leaders: “Live within a budget. We have to.”
Given that, how do you maintain high-quality, cost-effective services that do not duplicate services available just around the corner? That’s the question Lafayette Township trustees faced when its police department was operating in the red. Their solution? Combine forces with the Medina County Sheriff’s Department.
On Aug. 7, Lafayette voters will decide a 2.5-mill, five-year levy to fund a police contract with the sheriff’s department. It would cost property owners $78.75 per $100,000 of assessed valuation. The proposed levy is less than taxpayers are paying now for two 2-mill levies that funded the former township police department. The two old levies would go off the books if the new one passes.
With the contract, the township gets deputies who are devoted to covering Lafayette, yet are backed by the resources of the sheriff’s department. Other townships employ the same arrangement with success.
If the levy fails, the contract goes away and so do the deputies specifically assigned to Lafayette. Township police protection would consist of general protection by the sheriff’s department — which could mean slower response times to calls — or a reconstituted local department, but with a significantly reduced staff.
Lafayette has found a creative and responsible way to offer its growing population the best police protection for the best value. We encourage residents to vote yes for the township police levy on Aug. 7.