is no longer supporting levies in Bolivar

is no longer supporting levies in Bolivar

Letter to the Editor,

It’s fascinating the Village of Bolivar is seeking to double their police levy from 2 to 4 mills, yet council just approved historic raises in the face of epic inflation and imminent recession. Where are the tax payers’ raises to afford this frivolous spending?

I was quickly chastised by the mayor at the last council meeting on Oct. 3 when I questioned why the village wasn’t disclosing to the public of the $41,000 in new levy monies. It will only translate to a net gain of $20,820.

I stated approximately 49% of the proposed levy would be used on police raises alone, all while cutting out the patrol hours by approximately 24-32 hours per week.

The mayor angrily responded, “The levy doesn’t have anything to do with the raises, which are not tied into the levy passing, so for you to say that is not truthful.”

He became further disparaging and combative by saying I was purposely being deceptive. “You’re trying to confuse the public because you don’t think they understand. I’m hoping they are smarter than you give them credit for.”

I could have sugar coated it by saying the village will spend the equivalent of 49% of the proposed new 4 mill levy on police raises alone. No matter how you cut it, the rogue raises will affect the overall budget. Whether using new levies, old levies or the general fund, substantial monies are being paid out of the aggregate village funds to pay for these raises.

The village claims they aren’t spending any new money on the police; they are basically reinvesting into raises the money saved from no longer having the third FT officer. Yet the village is seeking to increase the police levy by 2 mills to help reduce the “deficit” in the General Fund (stated in the newsletter).

The mayor also stated in the paper, “It will free up money to support the street department or pursue capital improvement projects.”

This makes me question the real reason for the levy. Is it for the police, capital projects and/or the street department?

The village alleges a concern about a deficit in the General Fund, yet they recently reduced the income tax revenue in that fund by 9%, increasing the Street Fund by 9%. If alleviating the deficit was such a priority, then why not give modest raises, map out resources for departmental needs, plan future cruiser replacements and set aside money? Have a plan for training, equipping the officers and increasing coverage.

The village recently approved second and third raises for the year: police chief at $5 ($28.03); FT officer at $1.50 ($18); street super (third raise YTD) at $0.38, $1 (historic) probationary raise, now $1.50 ($21.88); village admin (third raise) at $0.36, $0.50 probation, now $1 ($19.86); fiscal officer at $1 ($20) pre-probation; and tax admin and utility clerk/tax assistant, both receiving $1.50.

I’ll no longer be supporting levies if the village can afford $5 raises. The village is operating outside of their league and sharply higher than comparable villages of equal size and revenue.

Maria App, Bolivar

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