SHAWNEE TOWNSHIP — Voters in Shawnee Township and Cridersville overwhelming said yes to property tax levies and income tax hikes to fully fund police departments. And Shawnee schools, which has been operating at a deficit for the last decade, will now see an additional $2.2 million per year thanks to an emergency 4.58 mill levy approved by voters Tuesday.
Tuesday was the second time in three years that the district has asked voters for new money after a 2018 emergency levy was rejected, resulting in budget cuts.
“Our kids need a good education,” said Elizabeth Hook, 81. “It needs to be done in a classroom, under supervision and in with other people to learn how to get along with other people.”
Hook was joined by 2,000 other voters who supported the Shawnee schools levy, which will help the district expand mental health services and professional developmental, as well as make new investments in classroom technology and science, technology, engineering, math and arts education.
After Shawnee schools narrowly lost its emergency levy request in 2018, Superintendent James Kanable said the district revised its request to increase support and educator voters on the district’s needs.
“The timing at that moment wasn’t correct,” Kanable said. “So, we tried to listen to our public and come back at a better time.”
The Shawnee Township Police Department will see new money too after voters approved a 2-mill levy renewal that was supposed to appear on the ballot last November alongside a 1.5-mill additional levy, which was supported by a margin of 77% to 23% Tuesday.
The results were heartening for Chief Michael Keith, who said the community’s support comes at a crucial time when police departments are facing calls for defunding.
“Who do you call when you have a problem?” said Hook, who also voted in favor of the police levy. “You call the policemen. And if they’re not out there, you can’t call them. I feel like we should respect our policemen much more than we do. That’s why I’m for the levy. We’ve got to protect our policemen.”
Voters in Cridersville approved the village’s bid to increase its income tax to 1.5% to continue operating a full-time police department after the village has lost nearly $850,000 in state funding in the last decade.
The income tax was approved by a margin of 75% to 25%, with only 306 votes cast.
“Cridersville is a small town, but it’s not a small town that is distant from any other communities,” said Greg Myers, chairman of the Cridersville police levy citizens committee, which conducted a door-to-door campaign in support of the income tax increase ahead of Tuesday’s election. “We’re right on I-75. We’re halfway between Lima and Wapakoneta. There’s a lot of activity in Cridersville, and we need to have a full-time police department.”
In St. Marys, voters Marys rejected making a 0.5% income tax a permanent fixture in Tuesday’s election. With all precincts and absentee votes counted, 56% of voters said no to the proposal. The city had passed a 0.5% income tax every 10 years since 1985. It funds capital improvements, equipment and facilities.
School levies were renewed for Allen East schools, Pandora-Gilboa schools and Waynesfield-Goshen schools. Renewal levies also passed for Allen County Children Services and Monroe Township Fire Department in Allen County and Wapakoneta parks and recreation.