SANDY TWP. A group of local residents have developed a Facebook page supporting Issue 41, the police levy for Sandy Township.
Sarah Nelson, executive chairperson of the Sandy Valley Drug Awareness Initiative, spoke to Sandy Township trustees on Monday, informing them of the new Facebook page and expressing her support for the levy.
"Our police protection is one in 1,000," she said.
Nelson also pointed out the support from Police Chief Jeff Hager in the development and growth of the Sandy Valley Drug Awareness Initiative.
"What started as a Facebook page two years ago has grown into a coalition," she said. "Chief Hager has been instrumental in that growth."
Hager also attended sessions in Columbus for the development of the coalition. It is a rare occurrence for a police chief to be so involved, state officials told Nelson.
"Without our police protection, I am not going to feel safe," Nelson said. "If we have to rely on the sheriff, we may not get any response. That is not OK."
Nelson said she would also worry about the safety of her young son. She also pointed out that the growing problems of opiate abuse has brought with it an increase in crime, including in Sandy Township.
"If you look at the cost vs. the benefits we receive, it is worth it," she said. "We cannot afford to lose our police protection in our quaint township. We must support it."
Trustee Scott Welker read the monthly report from Hager, which noted 108 calls for service in the township in the month of August.
"There also were 96 calls in July," Trustee Robert Fallot added. "This is not a fluke."
While most villages and townships have a solicitor or retained attorney, Sandy Township does not. As a result, township officials had to retain an attorney to handle the legal process associated with placing a 3-mill levy on the November ballot.
Sandy Township has contracted with the Magnolia Police Department for police protection since 1998 from a general fund that has been augmented by tipping fees collected from Waste Management American Landfill.
Voters in Sandy Township will be asked to approve a five-year, 3-mill police levy on the general election ballot that will generate approximately $120,000 for police protection in the township.
Trustee Bruce Weisburn noted that the township has contracted with the Magnolia Police Department for 18 years for police protection in the township. While the protection is not 24/7, it is close, and personnel can be quickly dispatched in case of an emergency.
Under the basic protection from the Stark County Sheriff's Office, it could take up to three days for a deputy to respond to take a report.
The township has relied on tipping fees from American Landfill to fund its police contract, but in recent years those fees have decreased dramatically. The fees are derived from taxes collected for each ton deposited in the landfill. The township receives 25 cents for each ton.
Nelson also asked trustees about their plans for a resolution to prohibit the establishment and operation of medical marijuana cultivation in the township.
Trustees passed a resolution to have legal counsel review a resolution to be adopted at an upcoming meeting.
"We want to be proactive," Fallot said. "At this point, we don't know what we can do legally."
In other business, trustees:
PAID bills totaling $12,129.93.
HEARD a Blue Star Memorial dedication ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. Sept. 28 in Mohawk Community Park in Waynesburg. It is hosted by the Mohawk Trail Garden Club, which has been instrumental in securing the monument.
HEARD the Road Department continues to perform mowing.
LEARNED that Stark County has completed bridge work on Wiandt Street SE. The bridge spans the Indian Run Creek.
ANNOUNCED that public meetings will be held at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Oct. 12 at the township hall to discuss gas and electric aggregation. Fallot urged anyone with questions to bring a copy of their bill.
The next regular meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3 at township hall.