As a citizen of Bellaire, I am very concerned with the increase of violence in our village. There have been numerous reports on the television and in the local newspaper of illegal activities occurring in Bellaire involving drugs, guns, domestic violence, thefts and assaults. In addition, the police have to handle vehicle accidents, complaints, fights, and monitor convicted criminals such as child molesters, rapists and those involved in drug- trafficking living in our village. I believe our police department is doing the best they can with limited resources. Our police officers have not received a raise in over 12 years! Our police officers are outnumbered by thugs moving into Bellaire from areas such as Cleveland, Pittsburgh and Columbus. Without additional financial resources, the police are at a disadvantage. Respectfully, I suggest that a police levy be put on the ballot in the next election. In addition, when we renew our vehicle plates, an additional fee of $15 is automatically added and shown as "Local Tax" in the total cost of renewing our license plates. Presently, I am not sure how this license plate fee is being utilized by the village. I believe it was originally designated for road repair. If possible, I would like to see a substantial portion of the license plate fee be allocated to the police department's budget. It takes funding to pay our officers a decent wage, conduct criminal investigations, pay for overtime, purchase updated equipment, vehicle maintenance, etc. Police officers go to work every day, putting their lives on the line for us. With adequate funding, the police officers will be able to have a decent raise including an annual cost-of-living increase.
Eileen E. Penyak