MADISON VILLAGE, OH (WOIO) - A meeting was held Tuesday night to discuss closing Madison Village police department.
The mayor says it's just too expensive to keep open.
"Our current anticipated police budget for 2016 is around $650,000. The proposal we have on the table from the township is $575,000 in the first year," said Dwayne Bailey, Madison Village administrator.
That's about a $100,000 saving the first fiscal year and that's the new reality according to Bailey.
There are 3,200 people living in the tiny Lake County community. Bailey said the police department, that has been serving and protecting for nearly 85 years, may fall victim to the 21st century budget axe.
But the power of the people may prevail.
"The people have the say here and I'm sure the council will do what the people want and if they're willing to undertake the current situation then I think it will remain like that. It is a proposal and it deserves to see the light of day," Bailey said.
"We actually do get a lot of police officers that come in here to have breakfast, lunch. They're really great people," said Dylan Beemiller, an employee at the Nifty 50's Diner in Madison Village. "I think it's a really sad thing and I think if it does happen that there would be a lot of people without jobs."
The mayor wants to dissolve the police department and let Madison Township take over policing. Currently, there is one full-time police chief, two full-time police officers, 15 part-time officers, one auxiliary officer, one full-time police/mayor's court clerk, one part-time clerk and one part-time school crossing guard.
"I really don't have an opinion on it. I think it may be a good idea if we can get the police from the township down here but either way I don't really have a say in it," said Cindy Hiles, diner employee.
More than 100 residents packed Tuesday night's meeting. They overwhelmingly spoke out against the plans to shut down the police department.
They're primarily worried about safety, and they had a lot of unanswered questions after the meeting. City council members did not answer residents questions at the meeting. Residents were each given five minutes to address council with their concerns.
City officials said they would answer questions at a later date so residents had the chance to speak. Residents are worried about how the plans could affect police response times.
They also were concerned about property values. Small business owners were worried about their future in the village.
We haven't been told whether jobs will be lost from Madison Village police.
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