Sharon Township voters will probably see a police levy on the November ballot.

Sharon Township voters will probably see a police levy on the November ballot.

Without additional tax revenues or cuts in service, the department will face a $314,816 deficit at the end of 2011, according to figures presented by Police Chief Don Schwind at a public hearing on July 21.

"I feel as chief of police we need more money coming in," he told approximately 50 residents who came to hear the budget discussion, followed by a picnic at the new township building at 95 E. Wilson Bridge Road.

Like 45-year resident Fred Wagner, many said they don't want to see their taxes raised, but will support a levy because they want their police protection continued.

"They just can't keep asking property owners all the time for more money," said the Olentangy River Road resident.

Trustee John Oberle said the board will keep those kinds of concerns in mind as it decides on the size of a levy. Deadline for filing for a ballot issue is Aug. 4.

"We want to do as small a levy as we can, but we don't want to continue to come back every year," he said.

Police levies were passed in 1992, 1995, 1998, and 2002.

Revenue collected from property taxes has decreased over that time, reflecting a decrease in property values and a decrease in effective millage. The current effective millage is 9.5, which resulted in a total of $610,165 in property tax revenue in 2010.

Total revenue in 2010 is expected to be $956,587, down from $1,384,035 in 2006.

During the same period, expenses have increased from $825,227 to $954,767.

Besides increasing taxes, methods for balancing the budget include taking money from the township's general fund or curtailing police services.

The department has ten full-time and three part-time constables who cover the approximately 850 homes in the unincorporated township land.

Unincorporated neighborhoods are scatted across five square miles in the northern part of Franklin County, from Morse Road on the south, Cleveland Avenue on the east, and Linworth on the west.

"Sharon Township is like the Caribbean, we have islands everywhere," Oberle said.

At the current staffing level, two constables are on the streets at all times. If fewer officers are available, response time goes up and the safety of residents goes down, Schwind said.

During rush hour, it could take 45 minutes to travel from one neighborhood to another, he said.

Without two officers on the street, fewer business checks and vacation house checks would be made, and fewer Blockwatch and community meetings would be attended, Schwind said.

The purpose of a levy would be to maintain current services, he said.

"We understand times are hard, every one of us does," the chief said.