CIRCLEVILLE — Voters of the City of Circleville have passed the .5 percent income tax levy for the city’s safety forces.
City officials were jubilant following the release of the results Tuesday evening.
Don McIlroy, Circleville’s Mayor who was re-elected Tuesday night, said he was happy with the outcome.
“I am so happy that we’re going to be able to support our fire and police personnel in the manner they need to be treated,” McIlroy said. “They have been working so hard and so much overtime and now we can say that we support you and we honor you and we’re going to have the best police and fire department in Pickaway County.”
Tony Chamberlain, Circleville Safety Director, said it was exciting to hear the news and it’s something the administration has been working hard towards.
“Moving forward it sounds like our first deposit will be around March and that’s when we’ll look at making some additions,” Chamberlain commented. “We’ll be working with the auditor’s office with how we can proceed to ensure we’re not overspending. It sounds like we’re in good shape and I’m happy not only for the citizens of Circleville but for the safety forces and their families as well. This is a big deal.”
Chamberlain said this was a light at the end of the tunnel, following the remainder of 2019 and the first couple of months of 2020.
“We still have several months to get through,” he added. “I talk to the chiefs daily and we’re working on plans for getting more people. We’ve given two people conditional officers [at the police department], we’re organizing another test and we’ll be asking for a fire test at the next civil service meeting next Tuesday.”
Brian Thompson, Circleville Fire Chief, echoed statements at city council meetings this year and expressed his confidence in the residents to “take care of them.”
“We had no reservations about the citizen’s taking care of us,” Thompson stated. “They did and we thank them for that.”
Shawn Baer, Circleville Police Chief, said as an example of that dedication to the city’s first responders, the city participates in a national fundraiser and Circleville comes out near the top for local donations.
“Percentage wise we get more support out of the City of Circleville than anywhere else in the country,” Baer remarked. “The citizens always support us.”
The half percent increase will cost a person about $50 additional tax dollars per $10,000 earned per year. The increase has a five-year sunset period, meaning it will come off the books after those five years unless voters approve a renewal levy.
All half percent goes into a fund dedicated for the needs of the fire department and the police department and cannot be spent elsewhere by law. As part of the ordinance, if passed, current levels of general fund money are required to be maintained until the levy expires.
Results of the election are unofficial until the Pickaway County Board of Elections certifies the results. That meeting is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.