DELHI TOWNSHIP, OH (FOX19) - When Delhi Township voters step into the voting booth on May 6, they'll decide the fate of a police levy aimed at raising more than $1.16 million per year.
The levy is a 5-year levy, valued at $2.49 million. That will cost homeowners $87.15 a year for each $100,000 a home is worth.
This is the first time in a long time that Delhi voters are being asked to pass a police levy. The last time one passed was in 2005. That levy was also a 5-year levy. The money from that was stretched by police officials for 9 years.
However, with rising expenses, flat revenue and a rising crime rate, the time has come to ask voters for help again.
The township has a little less than 30,000 residents, and to protect them, 29 police officers.
"My main thing is to keep intact what we have and be able to provide the best possible services that we can with what we do have," said Delhi Township Police Chief Jim Howarth.
That's exactly what the levy is designed to do. It's all about maintaining what they already have.
"We're basically at bare bones as far as our staffing levels. It'll maintain our 29 sworn officers that we have. It'll maintain our civilian staff," said Howarth.
Major crimes like robbery, rape and burglary are up 25 percent in Delhi since the last levy passed. On top of that, Delhi borders one of Cincinnati's busiest police districts. Last year, District 3 had the city's highest murder rate and calls for service.
"To me, it's a cheap insurance policy to protect our homes, protect ourselves and protect that way of living," said Rose Stertz, chairperson for Citizens for a Better Delhi.
Stertz has worked to spread the message and educate about the levy.
"I think everybody's taxed to death. We are on fixed incomes, I understand that. A lot of our seniors are on fixed incomes. We can't afford not to do that," said Stertz.
But, in the end, its fate is up to the voters.
If it doesn't pass over the course of the next few elections, maintaining officer levels won't happen and cuts are imminent come 2016.
"Unfortunately, I hate to say it's personnel cuts, but 88 to 90 percent of my budget in 2013 is all personnel-related between salaries, health insurance, workers comp, retirement," Howarth told FOX19.