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Riverside voters to decide fate of police levy in May

By Steven Matthews - Staff Writer

Riverside voters will see a police levy on the ballot in May, but property taxes will not increase if it passes.

City Council will vote on a resolution at Thursday’s meeting to place on the May 6 ballot a five-year, 4.95-mill renewal police levy that is projected to generate $1.26 million annually. If the resolution passes, the proper paperwork will be filed with the Montgomery County Board of Elections, City Manager Bryan Chodkowski said.

The deadline to file with the board of elections for the May 6 ballot is Feb. 5. Council agreed to a renewal levy during a work session last week.

“Since it is a renewal, I’m convinced the electorate will give us the money we need to keep the police department going in the right direction,” Mayor Bill Flaute said. “Taxes are something none of us want to see increased, and knowing this levy will still keep the citizens safe without increasing taxes is a good thing.”

The 4.95-mill police levy expires Dec. 31 and generates $1.33 million annually, which are sufficient funds to employ 11 officers. The original levy was approved by voters in 2004 and came into effect in 2005.

The levy currently costs the owner of a $100,000 home $151.59 per year, or $12.63 per month, according to the Montgomery County Auditor’s Office. A decrease in revenue generated by the levy is because of the expected decline in property values, which could result in residents paying less, Chodkowski has said.

“It clearly demonstrates to the community that we’re not asking for any additional revenues,” Chodkowski said. “It supports the service commitment that we’ve made to the community to make sure we have the adequate resources to respond to appropriate calls.”

If the levy fails in May, the city will have the option to put it back on the ballot in August or November.

The police department’s projected budget this year is $3.78 million. The department has 31 employees, including 27 sworn personnel.

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