LIBERTY - The shift to Trumbull County 911 dispatch services was intended to save the township money, and this year's ballot measure is intended to reflect just that.
Trustees voted unanimously to eliminate the 1.25-mill tax that paid for local dispatch services, including four full-time and two part-time dispatchers. That levy generated $190,000 last year, down from its usual $275,000 mark because of reduced home values.
But when the township made the switch to the Trumbull County service, it dropped the 1.25-mill levy in favor of a 0.45-mill levy that would provide just enough to pay the county for 911 services, roughly $95,000, Administrator Pat Ungaro said.
The new millage is expected to cost $12 per year on a $100,000 home compared to the previous cost of more than $30 per year.
"Now that we moved 911 services to the county, we don't need that money," Trustee Chairman Stan Nudell said. "The trustees really were very encouraged to be able to return some of the tax money to the taxpayers."
Nudell said he expects the old millage will be cut out on Dec. 31.
WHAT: Replacement levy to pay for county 911 dispatch service, to replace 1.25-mill levy that paid for local 911 dispatch services
TERM: Five years
AMOUNT: $95,000 per year
COST: $12 per year for every $100,000 of property value.
In 2011, the police department handled 15,739 calls to 911. At the county 911 center's standard rate of $4.75 a call, the estimated cost for police calls will be $74,760. Fire and emergency medical services handled 2,100 calls and their cost will be estimated at $9,976, for a total estimated cost to the township of $84,735.
Additionally, police Chief Richard Tisone said Trumbull County will pay Liberty about $28,000 for equipment that will be used at the county dispatch center in Howland.
Ungaro said last month that equipment upgrades were a cost consideration involved in the decision. He said the original equipment cost about $150,000 and the township still owed $60,000 on it.
The county also absorbed three of the four full-time dispatchers, though they took an approximate $2 per hour pay cut.
Tisone said the money his department expects to save could mean another cruiser on the road.
"We spent $30,000 to supplement the dispatch center, that's the cost of a new car," he said. "It's going to mean us being able to purchase equipment we otherwise would not have been able to purchase."