Shawnee Township police levy renewal falls ‘through the cracks’

By Sam Shriver -

SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Voters in November were expected to consider the renewal of a 2 mill, five-year levy for the Shawnee Township Police Department, but an error kept the measure off the ballot.

You can blame COVID-19, or at least that’s what Shawnee Township trustee Russ Holly is doing.

“It was one of those snafus where the perfect storm of COVID-19 was involved, where you did not have everybody rubbing elbows all the time and sharing information. Then it fell through the cracks, and it was a collective mistake,” Holly said. “We got the information from the auditor. So we had that, and then we passed the resolution back in June. So we wanted to make sure that we got the resolution passed ahead of time. And then with what was going on, with people not here, it didn’t get passed on to the election board.”

The 2 mill, five-year levy for the police department expires at the end of 2020. The mistake will result in the loss of more than $600,000 they would have collected if the levy had been renewed.

“They do have a carryover in that particular department, so it’s going to make it pretty tight for a time. But hopefully with what’s happening with the CARES Act, we may be able to pick up a little bit of money,” Holly said.

One possible solution is to combine a fire levy that will expire at the end of 2021 with a new levy to help fund the police.

“Dispatch has always been taken out of both the fire and the police, and then the road and the general fund. So they have never had their own specific levy,” Holly said. “So what we may do then is … consolidate them, and run a safety services levy, which would consolidate the police and fire and then dispatch in there, because that way, it would alleviate some of the pressure on both the police and the fire for this,” Holly said.

Holly says they’ve learned from their mistake.

“The learning from this is making sure that we have a punch list,” Holly said. “You have a punch list and make sure that you punch each one of the checkmarks that you need to do on there to make sure it doesn’t fall through the cracks again.”

By Sam Shriver

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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