On November 6th, Piqua City voters will have the opportunity to decide whether or not to support an increase in the Public Services Safety Levy. The Public Safety Services Levy is dedicated solely to funding operations and equipment costs for the Piqua Police and Fire Departments. This levy referendum is necessary due to the recent reduction of funding provided to local governments by the State of Ohio and the additional elimination of funding scheduled in 2013.
To help you better understand details and the purpose of the Public Safety Services Levy, the following Questions and Answers are provided for your benefit.
How much is the proposed levy?
One quarter of one percent (0.25%). For comparison purposes, a citizen with earned income of $30,000 a year will pay an additional $75 per year. The 0.25% will generate approximately $1 million each year for the Piqua Police and Fire Departments.
Will people on fixed incomes, like social security and pensions and persons who are unemployed pay this?
NO, city income tax is NOT collected on income from social security, pensions, unemployment benefits, military pay, or alimony received. Also, interest, dividends, and capital gains are NOT taxed. Earned income includes wages, gifts, bonuses, lottery, prize, and gambling winnings, business net profits, vacation pay, director fees, and rental income.
In addition, individuals who do not live in Piqua but work in Piqua would be required to pay on their earned income to go towards supporting Police and Fire services.
What will the dollars be used for?
These dollars would be used for annual operations, personnel, and capital equipment costs for the Piqua Police and Fire Departments.
Why are these additional dollars needed?
In addition to the tax dollars already available for Public Safety expenses, over $3 million additional dollars each year must come from the General Fund. The General Fund dollars are decreasing due to the State of Ohio reducing the local government fund and eliminating the estate tax in 2013. This levy would help replace those lost dollars and dedicate them to Police and Fire expenses.
Could the Police and Fire Budgets be reduced?
Significant reductions have already taken place. Staffing in the Police Department as decreased 12.5% since 2010 and the Fire Department has been reduced by 6.7%. Also, capital equipment needs have been delayed or reduced significantly over the last 5 years.
Can the City of Piqua take money from somewhere else to apply it to Police and Fire Department needs?
No. The City Charter prohibits the use of of electric, water, wastewater, refuse, stormwater, and other enterprise funds for the Public Safety Departments.
Are federal and state grants used to help with the department costs?
Yes, grants are applied for each year, but more communities are in need of dollars and funding awards are competitive and limited.
How would the Police and Fire Departments manage if the levy fails?
Failure of the levy will result in difficult decisions affecting city services.
What are some of the types of capital equipment that would be purchased and how much does it cost?
Some of the capital equipment needs required to provide protection for the community are extremely expensive. For example, the cost of a Ladder Truck is $1.2 million, a Fire Engine is $500,000, 4 Police Cruisers cost $130,000, and the price of Finger Printing System is $40,000. As any equipment wears out, we are faced with these replacement costs.
Hopefully, this information helps explain the purpose of the Public Safety Services Levy. Please feel free to contact me at email@example.com if you have specific questions regarding the levy.