Put-in-Bay Police Commission met on Tuesday evening, 16 August, as part of a continuing review of police department needs, objectives, priorities, and funding. Members of both Put-in-Bay Village Council and Put-in-Bay Township were in attendance, as was Chief Kimble and Mayor Dress. More representatives from the Put-in-Bay business community were present at the meeting (Boardwalk Family of Restaurants, Reel Bar, Frosty’s, Ashley’s, Birds Nest, Put-in-Bay Condos, and Island Club).
Long-term housing for officers, sufficient staffing, proper equipment, and training are critical areas if the community wants professional, long-term police department employees. The goal, as previously stated by the Commission, is to make decisions now which will ensure all are working toward the future.
Compliance and proper payment of the Resort Tax, and possibly a Head Tax, is for tax attorneys to review. Questions remain about the viability and adequacy of these measures. Alternative revenue sources, such as parking fees and a Village income tax of employees could help. The amount of parking available, how to allocate it, and whether golf cart rental companies can purchase parking permits and pass the fee on to renters are relevant concerns. Chief Kimble pointed out a realistic Police Department budget could approach $1.5 million. He is looking into hiring a retired officer to serve on Middle Bass Island for the 2023 season.
A member of the business community said it is important that the Village and Township resolve their contractual differences. Having a clear and cohesive message ahead of the levy is critical to its success. It was also suggested an Island-wide Police Commission control policing, not just the Village, as has always been the case. This would be a police district, per Ohio Revised Code. This concept could also apply to the fire department and EMS.
The deadline for the Village and Township police contract is only 15 days away. The biggest question needing resolution is will the Township contract with the Sheriff next year or will they continue to work in good faith with the Village for police coverage in the Township–which is all the Bass Islands.
“There is no excuse for both parties to not talk,” said one meeting participant. Mr. Chris Cooper (Township) said Middle Bass Island has not been staffed for over a year. He said the contract has been breached for a long time. Ms. Judy Berry (Village) stated there is communication between the Village and Township.
Put-in-Bay Police Commission meetings continue on the first and third Tuesdays in September. Put-in-Bay Property Owners Association Media Director, Kathi Spayde, contributed the notes for this article.