The Herald, Sharon, Pa.

August 2, 2013

Voters asked for 2 levies this fall

By Sandy Scarmack
Herald Staff Writer

BROOKFIELD — Brookfield Township trustees gave the final go-ahead for plans to add separate police and fire levies to the November ballot.

The police department is asking for a 1.6 replacement levy, citing a need to bring staffing and equipment up to acceptable levels. Police Chief Dan Faustino said in earlier meetings that cuts in state funding have decimated his annual budget, forcing him to operate the department with the same amount of money he had about eight years ago.

If voters approve the police levy, it is expected to bring in about $206,000 a year. With that money, Faustino has said he would boost staffing and take care of much-needed maintenance for police vehicles.

The police department is in the middle of a feasibility study to consider merging with Hubbard and Hubbard Township, though any movement on that is likely “years away,” Faustino has said.

Fire Chief Keith Barrett has been telling trustees that he is facing the same issues as the police department, and he is asking for an additional 1.5-mill levy that would raise a little more than $158,000 a year.

Barrett has said he needs the money to reopen Station 51, the Masury substation on Addison Road, which he said allows for a far quicker response to some areas of the township. The station had been manned for 12 hours a day, but is also closed at times due to a lack of staffing.

Maintenance on the 25-year-old fire trucks and constantly running ambulances remains an issue, Barrett said. He attributes much of his department’s deficit to rising gasoline prices.

Trustees tried to put a combined police, fire levy on the ballot last November, but it failed. Voters on Nov. 5 will be able to vote separately on each levy.

Township voters in May passed by a single vote a 4.85-mill levy for the school district.