Bethel voters reject police levy

By Kristin Rover
Sun staff

The village of Bethel failed to pass a 4 mill police levy Nov. 5 that would have helped support the department.

The levy failed with 57.14 percent, or 224 voters, opposed to the levy and 42.86 percent, or 168 voters, in favor of the levy.

“The failure to pass the police levy was a disappointment to the mayor and council,” Administrator Travis Dotson said.

Back in April, council members first discussed placing a police levy on the November ballot.

Dotson said they did so because the village has continued to lose funding from the state and at the same time, the police department has required more money from the general fund.

“The police department has gone from needing 55 percent of our general fund to operate up to nearly 70 percent,” Dotson said.

He said the general fund also covers the expenses of Burke Park, the Grant Memorial Building and the community center.

“So we are looking at a juggling act to maintain everything and keep the police department funded,” Dotson said.

Councilwoman Janice Ireton said she was disappointed that the levy failed.

Ireton said Police Chief Mark Planck does a great job with the funds he has to operate the department.

“Our chief really runs the department basically on a shoestring budget. I don’t know how he does it.”

Ireton said there are already times that there is no coverage in the village and she is worried about not being able to improve the coverage.

“I think our community will suffer not having the police coverage that we need,” Ireton said.

Dotson said council members will be meeting soon to discuss the levy failure and plan accordingly.