Mifflin Township resident Robert McDonald said he would be voting for Issue 43 on the Nov. 2 ballot because he wants Mifflin Township police officers patrolling his neighborhood.

Mifflin Township resident Robert McDonald said he would be voting for Issue 43 on the Nov. 2 ballot because he wants Mifflin Township police officers patrolling his neighborhood.

McDonald, a Republic Avenue resident who spoke at the Mifflin Township trustees' Oct. 19 meeting, said drugs and gangs were a problem in his neighborhood when he moved in several years ago.

"It's gotten better," he said after the meeting. "Without the Mifflin Township police, we're in trouble."

Issue 43 is an 8.8-mill levy to support the Mifflin Township Police Department. If approved, the average cost to residents in the unincorporated areas of the township would be about $132 a year.

Trustee chairman Joe Spanovich pointed out that city of Gahanna residents would not be voting on the police levy.

Police Chief Michael Pocock said passage of the levy, which the Franklin County Auditor's Office estimates would generate $393,024 annually, would enable the police department to maintain and improve its current level of service.

Pocock, who has been police chief since 2005, has also warned that the levy's failure could lead toward the elimination of the police department, in which case law enforcement in the township would likely be handled by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.

McDonald said he doesn't want to see that happen.

"If we don't have police, I'm moving," he said, adding that the township police officers are courteous and respond quickly to calls.

Adding to the sense of urgency regarding the levy, the trustees approved at the meeting a recommendation from Pocock to accept the resignations of four part-time officers. Pocock said the four are leaving for opportunities at other police departments.

"I don't blame them for going," he said, adding that the department's remaining five full-time officers, two part-time officers and 10 reserve unpaid officers will rearrange their schedules and vacation time to provide coverage to the township.

The department currently receives about $440,000 annually in levy revenue and has struggled with tight finances in recent years. In May, township residents, by 19 votes, rejected a levy that would have replaced two separate levies and generated about $235,000 annually for the police department.

Pocock is optimistic about the Nov. 2 levy's chances for approval, but said he has budget scenarios laid out for next year for either outcome.

"There's a lot of options I'll be able to work with if we can get this rascal passed," he said.

Also on the Nov. 2 ballot is a 3.8-mill levy to support the Mifflin Township Fire Department, which provides service to the city of Gahanna and unincorporated areas of the township.

If approved, the levy will generate $3.8-million annually for the fire department, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office. It would cost homeowners about $120 annually for each $100,000 of assessed property valuation. Jefferson Township residents are being asked to reconsider their position on a new 1-mill tax levy to support road and park improvements.

Voters rejected a proposed five-year levy in May. If Issue 42 is approved in November, the levy would cost an additional $30.63 for each $100,000 of assessed property value. The board of trustees voted in July to place the levy on the ballot again.

Originally, the trustees had committed to using 75 percent of the nearly $488,000 in revenue the levy would generate for road improvements, with the balance going to parks. This time around, trustees are planning a 50/50 split, "with the caveat that some expenses would be shifted from the service department to parks," trustee Mike Rowan has said. Those expenses might include some salaries and the cost of some equipment, he said.

At the same time, township officials are pursuing state grants for road projects for the first time in recent memory.

Trustees recently gave their approval for the township to hire New Albany-based engineering firm EMH&T to prepare an Ohio Public Works Commission grant application. The contract with EMH&T is limited to a maximum of $4,900.

Service superintendent Joe Gerhart said it is the first time since he started with the township in 1992 that his department has applied for a grant of any type.

EMH&T's responsibilities will include determining the scope of the project for which the township would seek funding. One of the projects being considered, Gerhart said, is the improvement of Dixon Road to eliminate stormwater flooding.

The grant, if approved by the OPWC, would require at least a 10-percent local match, Gerhart said.

Correction:

A story in last week's issue incorrectly stated the Jefferson Township levy would cost $100 per $100,000 of assessed property value. The cost is $30.63 because of reduction factors.