Pomeroy Police Department faces budget cuts

POMEROY, Ohio (WSAZ) -- When the phone rings at the Pomeroy Police Department, there's usually a dispatcher on the other end in seconds, but after recent budget cuts made by the village council, the department is closed for two shifts a week.

"You can't have services without paying for them, it’s as simple as that,” Mayor Don Anderson said.

Anderson says these cuts were a tough choice but something that had to be done to keep the town afloat.

"We're forced into a situation where we have to make sure that the village remains solvent and that there are operating funds that will last through the whole year,” he said.

The two eight-hour shifts were chosen during times when there is a low rate of criminal activity, but they're not disclosing what times they are.

But the department does have a plan to ensure all calls are covered during these times. Calls will be answered by 911, and the sheriff's department and Ohio State Highway Patrol will respond.

Anderson says, like many small towns throughout the region Pomeroy has seen a decrease in population in recent years and there is not as many taxpayers since many residents are retired.

"They have retirement income and Social Security, but they don’t work regular jobs so they don’t pay tax anymore,” he said.

Pomeroy native Charlene Rutherford is one of those who moved away, but moved back 10 years ago. She's disappointed that Pomeroy residents didn't vote for the police protection levy back in November.

"When you’re talking about police, fire, library those are the things you need in your town. You can’t do without them,” Rutherford said.

The mayor says the village is hoping to revisit the budget cuts in about six months.

If the situation doesn’t improve, village officials will consider putting a levy on the ballot come November.