Without renewal of Riverside police levy, ‘it would absolutely cripple our operation’

RIVERSIDE is preparing to place a replacement levy on the ballot in March to fund police operations.

Riverside voters have approved a 4.95-mill property tax levy every five years since 2009, Montgomery County election records show.

The levy funds general police operations, ranging from personnel to capital investments, Riverside City Manager Josh Rauch said.

“It makes up a pretty substantial portion of that department’s budget,” Rauch said. “If we were not to have that funding it would absolutely cripple our operation … We’d have to find cuts or something else to do to reduce the size of the budget to reflect what actually comes in.”

Riverside’s Police Department budget for this year is about $4.84 million and the levy generated about $1.07 million, according to city records. The department’s 2024 projected budget is $5.17 million, according to the city.

“It is easily our most substantial operation,” Rauch said.

The department’s current authorized staffing level for sworn personnel is 30, with two positions vacant, said police Maj. Matthew Sturgeon.

It also has a records clerk and a property room manager, Sturgeon said.

There are no plans to increase the authorized staffing level next year, Rauch said.

The tax was approved as a replacement levy in 2009, and as a renewal in both 2014 and 2019, according to county records.

A replacement is like a renewal in that the levy is on the ballot at the same millage as the current one. However, with a replacement, the cost is valued at a home’s current rate, not the previous valuation as with a renewal.

Riverside City Council has asked the county auditor to certify the numbers for the levy to be placed on the ballot.

The deadline to file with the county board of elections to get issues on the March 19 ballot is Dec. 20, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

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