Attica council reorganizes, plans to discuss police levy Thursday

ATTICA — During Attica Village Council’s organizational meeting Thursday night, Councilman Justin Van Alstine was elected president pro tempore and Mayor Bryan Shock announced all committees would remain the same.

Resident Deb Briggs, wife of former police chief Jeff Briggs, who served the village for 16 years, spoke of her disappointment of the failure of the police levy. She said she was saddened by the department’s closure and wanted to know what council was going to do about it. She said people would have voted for it if the department had been efficiently and professionally run. She said her husband never had a levy fail.

She asked, “Did you really think a 5-mill levy was going to pass with the level of quality and services we were receiving? People didn’t vote ‘no’ because they didn’t want police protection, people voted ‘no’ because they didn’t want to pay more for the service we were receiving.”

Councilman Nate Frisch responded, “What levy amount would you put on the ballot?”

Shock informed Briggs that local government funding from the state had been reduced by $30,000 annually and $25,000 of that went toward the police department. The two 3-mill levies that the village has carried no longer were able to support the department and that is why a 5-mill levy was sought. One 3-mill levy ended at the end of 2018 and the second finishes at the end of 2019. The funds collected this year go toward unemployment and rental fees for the police department office space.

Shock said some residents have asked about the department’s “toys.” Most electronic equipment and technology have been obtained through donations and grants, he said.

Solicitor Rick Palau informed council members a decision needs to be made whether they are seeking a new levy. Following discussion, members voted to place a five-year, 8-mill levy on the May ballot. Councilman Kirk Stanfield abstained. This would replace the two 3-mill levies and generate approximately $103,000 annually. Palau is to draw up a resolution of necessity that, when passed, would go to Seneca County Auditor Julie Adkins to calculate the figures for voters. A special session was scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Thursday to take action.

Village utility billing clerk Sheryl Hamilton addressed the council about safety measures for her area. Recently, a water/sewer customer had her water shut off and entered the office with belligerence. The resident was asked to leave, but her son then made two more visits to the office. She requested council consider a barrier between herself and the public for safety purposes. Discussion resulted in Village Administrator Greg Martin being directed to obtain estimates on the cost of creating a wall with a bullet-proof window.

Fiscal Officer Angela Depinet stated $1,053,444.29 is in all funds. Council approved the resolution for the 2019 annual appropriations by emergency measure with all members present. Stanfield was opposed.

Martin stated that first interviews for the water/sewer worker position have been completed. Now the personnel committee is deciding who moves on to second interviews. He also noted the repairs to the Myers Park ballfield lights have been delayed until the ground is more firmly frozen.

Council is to meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to consider the resolution of necessity for the police levy to be placed on the ballot. The next regular council meeting is set for 7:30 p.m. Jan. 24.