Columbia Township may put a 3.4-mill police levy on the May ballot. In the following Q&A, township Administrator Michael Lemon sheds light on the issue.

Did the Columbia Township Board of Trustees vote to put a police levy on the ballot?

 No, they voted to have the (Hamilton County) auditor certify the amount of revenue a 3.4-mill levy would generate, as required by the Ohio Revised Code.

What would a 3.4-mill levy cost homeowners annually and how much money would it produce annually for Columbia Township to provide police services?

The auditor’s certification will tell us both of these (figures).

Columbia Township currently contracts with the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to police the township 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About how long has the sheriff’s office been policing Columbia Township?

As far as I know, the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office has been policing Columbia Township forever.

What kind of police presence does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office provide?

The number of deputies varies per shift and day.

The number can range from one to five per shift, depending on scheduling by the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

What does the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office annually charge Columbia Township for this service?

The cost of the officers has averaged $860,991 per year over the past three years while total police service costs, which includes dispatch fees and equipment purchases, have averaged $935,886.

How does Columbia Township pay for these services now?

While costs increased and revenue declined as a result of state tax cuts, we managed to provide ongoing service without a (new) levy.

Costs are paid from the police fund (annual revenue and reserves from earlier levies) and the General Fund (if there are shortfalls, which has occurred the last two years).

In addition to the shortfalls, why is Columbia Township considering a police levy now?

We have not had a levy on the ballot for police services in 13 years.

We explored policing by other communities to reduce costs but found this alternative would cost more and reduce resources.