Bethel Twp. to try again in May to pass levy for policing

Voters casting their votes during early voting at the Clark County Board of Elections during November's election. Bethel Twp., is looking at putting its police levy back on the ballot in May. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

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Voters casting their votes during early voting at the Clark County Board of Elections during November's election. Bethel Twp., is looking at putting its police levy back on the ballot in May. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Bethel Twp. is planning on putting a levy on the ballot in May that would fund a second dedicated sheriff’s deputy in its jurisdiction after a similar proposal was narrowly defeated last fall.

The levy is expected to cost homeowners, whose property is valued at $100,000, a little over $122 per year and is expected to generate roughly $338,196 annually that will be used to pay for the additional Clark County Sheriff’s deputy, said Bethel Twp. Trustee Nancy Brown.

Brown said that the levy would be for five years and would be able to be renewed after that period. She said money generated from it would allow them to potentially cover the costs of a second dedicated deputy to service the area or pay for extra duty officers to cover evening or weekend shifts, when the primary deputy is not able to do so.

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The township has paid for a deputy from the sheriff’s office for a number of years and the cost of paying for the salary, benefits, equipment, a vehicle and other associated costs solely comes from property taxes generated through a police levy, Brown said.

However, due to a clerical issue, the levy was not renewed and officially ran its course in 2020. However, tax revenue generated from the levy that year did carry over into 2021.

In the meantime, the township had to tap into into some of its CARES Act funding allocated during the coronavirus pandemic to carry on those services until a new levy is approved by voters.

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Bethel Twp. received a total of approximately $500,000 in those federal relief dollars.

An attempt to pass the levy during the November general election failed by a margin of 32 votes, according to the Clark County Board of Elections. The levy was listed as an additional one and several renewal levies for Bethel that focused on fire services were approved by voters.

Brown and her fellow trustees believe that voters were confused regarding the levy for policing services and that is why it did not pass in November.

The goal now is to work on ways to educate the public as well as see how they can classify the levy on the ballot in a way that is digestible to voters.

In an attempt to do that, trustees voted to create a twp., policing district during an emergency meeting last week.

The levy proposal must be submitted to the local Board of Elections by Feb. 2 in order to appear on the ballot for the primary election in May.

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