PERRY VILLAGE, Ohio-- A Lake County community facing a budget deficit isn't waiting until the first of the year to make cuts. 24/7 police protection is being discontinued in Perry Village.
A sole officer was on the road Sunday as Perry Police Department began its reduced patrols.
Faced with a $240,000 operating budget deficit, Perry Village Council approved eliminating 16 police patrol hours a week.
"It bothers me tremendously,” resident Jim Watson said. “And, it definitely will affect the safety of our homes, ourselves and our children."
A November 5 defeat of an income tax increase and passage of an income tax credit for residents that work outside of Perry created the village budget deficit.
Discontinuing 24/7 police coverage will likely mean reducing the hours of part-time police officers.
Longtime resident Ron Burkholder said less police protection reduces one’s sense of security. “To know that if we need help, it's just a phone call away and just a few minutes away --rather than ten or 15 minutes or more," he said.
As part of another cost-cutting measure, village officials decided to close Lee Lydic Park indefinitely. That puts youth sports programs in jeopardy. "They have some ball diamonds down there. It's used by the local residents either walking or running. And, I’m a runner, so yes, I go through there. So, we're not going to be able to use it. Yeah, we're going to miss it," Watson added.
Perry Village officials will likely put the income tax increase issue on the May ballot. But, that might mean that other village services would need to be cut before the middle of next year. "It’s a long time and it's a tough sell," Burkholder added.