CAMDEN — According to unofficial results, both of Camden’s tax renewal levies were approved by voters during the Tuesday, Aug. 8, special election.
Only 15.73 percent of Camden’s registered voters turned out for the vote, casting a total of 193 ballots.
Issue 1, for 4 mills, was to fund the village itself. It passed 101 to 92, with 52.33 voting for the levy and 47.67 voting against it.
Issue 2 was to fund the police department, and was for 6 mills. It passed 118 to 75, with 61.14 voting for the levy and 38.86 voting against.
According to village officials, neither issue will mean an increase in taxes, as both are renewals.
Before the election, Camden council member Kelly Doran explained, “The general fund levy (Issue 1) only generates around $75,000. We’re still about $100,000 short to operate the police department from their levy, from the general fund levy, and the rest has to come out of tax revenue to subsidize the police department.
“Issue 2 only generates less than $100,000 for the police department. The levy funds much less than half of the fiscal needs of the department. The remainder has to be made up by the general fun. The another $163,000 is funded right out of the general fund.”
The general fund also receives tax revenue of approximately $284,000 per year, but just to fund the police department for a year it costs $263,000 — which leaves only roughly $20,000 left over to fund the village operations.
The two renewals were last on the ballot in November 2016, and both failed. The village was not able to get the issues onto the ballot for May, so they only had the August and November 2017 elections to pass them. If they did not pass by November, come January there would have been a significant cut to the police department, officials said.
The village would have had to put the issues on in May of 2018, which would mean no funding until 2019. Officials expected to have a police department consisting of only one officer.
The passage of both levies means that the police department can continue working as it has and that the village has general operating funds to put towards projects improving the state of the town.
“I’m glad that the people showed up to vote and that both levies passed,” Camden Mayor Lisa Moss said. “I wasn’t worried that they wouldn’t pass, but in an election you never know.”
“We need a police department and we have to have money for that,” she continued.”That’s a very important thing right now, with all the drugs and robberies. Our police department has been doing a fantastic job. With all the robberies we’ve had they’ve caught them all. They crack down on the drugs more and more every day to try and get them out of town.
“It’s important to have the operating levy so we have money coming in to operate the town — to pay for the roads we’re getting done and other improvements.”
As for why the levy passed in this election, but didn’t pass in November, “There were a lot of other things on the ballot and the people just picked and chose,” Moss said. “It just didn’t pass, but we got it out there so people could see what it was and see what they were voting on. Without all the other options they were able to think about it and decide for sure what they wanted to do.”
“I just want to thank everybody for showing up and voting,” Moss added.
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH