CAMDEN — Camden Village Council members discussed briefly the fiscal impact and consequences the village will face due to the 2022 midterm election results at their bi-monthly meeting, Thursday, May 5.
The results in question pertained to issues 4 and 5 on the ballot. Issue 4 was a proposed renewal of a general operating tax levy and Issue 5 was a proposed renewal of a police tax levy.
Neither levy passed, with Issue 4 resulting in 93 votes for it, and 129 against it, according to the unofficial results. Issue 5 resulted in 100 votes for, 120 against.
Concerning the levies’ failure to pass, councilman Kelly Doran said, “Essentially, those levies do fund the police department. One was the police levy; one was a general fund levy. But the general fund significantly funds the police department. That’s a couple hundred thousand dollars that will be gone from our budget, that actually, probably, won’t be going to the police department.”
Members of the police force had previously made requests for additional funding for staffing purposes during a council meeting held on Thursday, April 21, where council expressed the request would depend on the passing of Issue 5. According to members of the police force, there is a high chance that Camden will be reduced to a part time police department. This means the Camden Police Department will have reduced coverage, and will not be available to respond to the majority of calls. Instead, the Preble County Sheriff’s office will respond, which, according to village police officials, may take up to several hours if it is not a priority call.
Councilman Doran also noted, “A couple of meetings ago, we viewed a presentation where our crime statistics are trending downward — it’s been very successful for our community to have, essentially, around-the-clock coverage.”
Doran went on to say, “So to me, what I don’t understand, especially in this era where police have been picked on, maligned, how our citizens wouldn’t vote for a police levy?” Doran concluded his statement by saying, “But if we’re going to do anything like we intend to do over the next 10 years, we are going to have to have access and the ability to fund these things. We would literally go back to a hand-to-mouth organization without that (levy).”
Councilwoman Debbie Hickman voiced her fears the village may have to make cuts to some of the community functions, “We don’t want to live in a town where we can’t run our streetlights. But if you have to start cutting things, what are you going to cut? Snow removal? Leaf pick ups? Those seem like nothing, you take them for granted — but they cost us a lot of money.”
Mayor Toni Keesler said of the matter, “It’s disappointing, very disappointing. Hopefully, with communication with the public, they will see the value that they get from those two levies and we will pass them next time.”
Camden Village Council meetings are public meetings held on the first and third Thursdays of each month, at 7 p.m at Camden Town Hall.
Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057 and follow on Twitter @NathanHoskins13