A state law requiring municipalities to provide police services is forcing Holiday City to explore contracting with the Williams County Sheriff.
Sheriff Steve Towns and Commissioner Terry Rummel visited the village’s Council to discuss the issue and determine a cost for service. The pair spent nearly an hour with the council and while not reaching any agreement, did get the discussions moving.
The determination by Governor Kasich has left towns like Holiday City in a quandary over what to do. The community has many businesses and factories, but only about 15 homes, so ax revenues are slight.
The town contracts with Jefferson Township for fire protection.
Sheriff’s deputies see a lot of action in the area as higher traffic counts lead to more vehicle break-ins and thefts, Towns said. They are also likely to come out for 911 hang-ups just to make sure everything is OK at the residence, he said.
Drive-offs from gas stations account for 10 percent of the calls for a year, Towns said. The only way his officers would not respond is if there was no description of the suspect vehicle or plate number.
The financial challenge for Holiday City was not lost on Rummel. He understands police coverage is going to be more than a $10,000 venture on the village’s part.
“We have to cover our costs,” Rummel said.
The cost of starting a police department fresh is impractical for the village, all parties agreed. That says nothing about the challenges faced by law enforcement with a significant transient population and drugs around the Ohio Turnpike.
“People may live here, they may live in a hotel,” Towns said.
To have police coverage, the two sides will have to come up with a way of funding the officer, his benefits, training, equipment and vehicle.
The county commissioners have said they will not increase the sheriff’s budget to cover another officer.
Towns and Rummel were upbeat after the meeting, but said the talks were in the early stages.
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org