AMELIA, OH (FOX19) - Big changes could be on the way for people living in Amelia. Village leaders are considering getting rid of the police department.
On Wednesday night, Mayor Leroy Ellington, Interim Police Chief John Wallace, council members, and Sheriff A.J. Rodenberg met with residents.
The annual budget of the police department is completely funded by two separate levies. However, after two straight renewal levies have failed, the village is running out of money to pay for the department. The department currently employs four full time officers, four part time officers, and one full time police clerk. The annual budget is $581,318.
The Mayor said he doesn't like the idea of dissolving their police department, but the village must explore other options-- such as contracting police service to the Clermont County Sheriff's Department. Council members said that could save the village about $200,000.
"Our preference is to maintain the police department," said Amelia Mayor Leroy Ellington. "Unfortunately, its business and mathematics, we just need to be efficient."
Since the last Census in 2000, village leaders say Amelia has grown by a rate of more than 74-percent in the last decade, leaving Amelia Village just 200 citizens short of City status.
That's exactly why Chief Wallace is fighting hard to keep the department running. He's working on a plan to lower costs. It includes reducing overtime -- anything to keep his officers employed.
No decision was made on the issue at the special council meeting on Wednesday evening. Sheriff Rodenberg said village leaders have until September to decide.
If services are contracted out, those officers can apply for a job with the Clermont County Sheriff's Office, but the department isn't obligated to hire them.
"Our officers would stay with the police department during the transition period," said Ellington.
That period would end either in January or February of 2012. Sheriff Rodenberg said his office would need to hire and train three or four deputies to patrol Amelia.