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February News & Updates

RadarCombined Services Unique to Village
Amberley’s skilled, responsive police and fire services are highly valued by residents of the Village. It’s reassuring to know that their assistance is only minutes away at any time of the day or night. In our small Village setting, officers often know residents by name and take great pride in providing a high level of service.

police fire equipment bagA consolidated police and fire department is a value-driven approach of unmatched efficiencies on every level of operation, especially from a financial perspective. Because Amberley police officers perform firefighting duties, the Village is able to utilize the same employees to provide a fully functioning fire department operation, in addition to its police department without the additional cost of operating separate police and fire facilities, equipment and personnel.

As one of only two fully-consolidated departments in Ohio, all officers are cross-trained in law enforcement and firefighting duties, an approach that minimizes expenditures and maximizes quick and effective response to the wide range of citizen needs and requests.

All officers are also classified as first responders which means they can administer immediate medical attention, including first aid and CPR. Officers also have certain specialized duties; some are classified as investigators, evidence technicians, fire inspectors, intoxilyzer officers, crime prevention officers or auto accident experts.

On each shift, officers perform an equipment check of their police cruisers to ensure that their vehicle is equipped with all of the necessary police and fire gear, which is contained in the trunk. When a call for service is dispatched, officers are ready to respond to any police situation or fire scene.

Besides patrolling for safety and crime prevention, Amberley officers are also scouting for any signs of fire or any fire hazard. When a fire alarm is received, the closest police officer responds directly to the scene. In all jurisdictions, the first arriving unit on a fire scene is almost always a police officer. While the same can be said about Amberley, the difference is that Amberley officers are also the first responding firefighter. Response times to your residence for police or fire service can be seconds!

Chief Wallace encourages all residents to tour the police and fire department and learn more about this combined service that is unique to Amberley Village.

Village Fire Department Honored

The Amberley Village Fire Department was recognized as a finalist for the 2011 Gold Star Chili Fire House of the Year Award on January 4, 2012. The department was recognized for its outstanding fire prevention and education programs in school outreach, the department’s annual safety fair, and its comprehensive workforce training programs. As a finalist, the Amberley Village Fire Department was awarded a $250 donation to help support its fire prevention and education programs.

The Gold Star Chili Fire House of the Year award is presented each year to a department of firefighters who demonstrate team effort and dedicate significant time and resources in promoting fire safety and prevention to the surrounding community.

Calendar Events

Feb 1 Mayor’s Court 5:00 p.m.
Feb 6 Board of Zoning Appeals 7 p.m.
Feb 13 Council Meeting 6:30 p.m.

Feb 15 Mayor’s Court 5:00 p.m.
Feb 20 Presidents’ Day – Offices Closed
Feb 27 Environmental Stewardship 7:30 p.m.
Feb 29 Mayor’s Court 6:30 p.m.

Watch the January Council Meeting

Police Warn of Increase in Crimes

Upcoming Meetings on Issue 3 Police Levy

February 1 at 6:30 p.m. in the Amberley Room at the Jewish Community Center. Presentation by Village Manager Scot Lahrmer.

February 15 at 1:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. at the Amberley Village Hall Community Room. Presentation and tour by Chief Wallace.

February 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Amberley Room at the Jewish Community Center. Presentation by Village Manager Scot Lahrmer.

Visit with the Village Manager
Village Manager Scot Lahrmer is hosting “Visit with the Village Manager” from 5-7 p.m. every Thursday evening, in council chambers at Village Hall, to answer questions about Issue 3, the police levy. If you would like to attend, just show up.

Scroll Down to Review Police Levy FAQ’s

Former Mayors Stillpass and Kamine Honored

Byar Honoring Stillpass and KamineAt the January 9 council meeting, Mayor Byar recognized former Mayors Merrie Stillpass and Chuck Kamine for their dedicated service to the Village. Each were presented with a certificate of recognition from Mayor Byar.

Village Receives Tree City USA Award

Tree City USA LogoAmberley is honored to receive the Tree City USA designation for 2011. This nationally recognized award is presented to communities that have met maintenance standards for trees growing along their streets and in their parks. Achievement of this award is a result of the ongoing collboration efforts by the Environmental Stewardship Committee and Village staff to continue Amberley’s committment to be stewards of the environment.

A recognition luncheon for the communities who were designated as Tree Cities will be hosted by Amberley Village on April 20 at the Jewish Community Center. Planning for this luncheon is underway. If you would like to volunteer or be a sponsor, contact Pam Hessler.

Ad Hoc Advisory Committee Status

Appointed in November 2011, the Village’s 14-member Ad Hoc Advisory Committee has been meeting on a regular basis to discuss the financial issues of Amberley. The committee has been provided a multitude of budget documents and information, including professional presentations by department heads regarding expenses and revenues for providing Village services.

Most recently, the committee requested Village Manager Scot Lahrmer prepare a scenario for review that implemented a thirty (30) percent budget cut. Although alarming to show such deep cuts to Village services, the committee was interested in reviewing the effects of such a scenario. Mr. Lahrmer presented this scenario to the committee on January 19 and it provides the committee with another perspective on the Village’s lean operations and the effect of deep cuts related to personnel and services. The committee will be providing a recommendation to Council likely in February.

View 30 Percent Budget Cut Scenario

Issue 3 Police Levy FAQ’s

Why is the levy needed?
The Police Department alone consumes nearly 50% ($2.5 million) of the Village budget ($5.4 million) but has no funding source other than the General Fund. There is a significant erosion of our revenue streams occurring as a result of the State budget cuts. Revenue that the Village has relied upon from the State has been eliminated or greatly reduced while property tax collections have declined due to revaluation and general market conditions.

Why now?
The Village understands these are difficult economic times. Without passage of this levy, the Village will have to make cuts to crucial services provided to our residents. The last and only time residents voted on a property tax increase was in 1955 when the current 7 mills were approved for general Village expenses. This hasn’t increased in 56 years and there is no current police or fire levy in place for the Village.

How will the revenue be spent?
Monies generated from the police levy are dedicated sources of funds that can only be utilized for the police department operations which is why the ballot language (shown at the bottom of this article) contains a description of how the funds can be used. These levy funds will be used strictly for the expenses of providing police services to the community.

What has been done to reduce the costs in the Amberley Village Police Department?
Cuts have been made to every department budget, including the Police Department. There is currently a vacant lieutenant position that will not be filled. Police officers have not had pay increases for 2 years. Their last pay increase was 1.8% in 2010. Health care premiums being paid by police officers will increase from 10% last year to 15% this year. A new police schedule was implemented which had the effect of reducing overtime by $33,000 in the last six months of 2011. New cruisers were not purchased in 2010, 2011, or planned for 2012. Amberley Village Police have held the line on expenses in spite of increased demand for services and in 2011, the Police Department came in $132,198 under budget.

How much does it cost to operate the Police Department?
The 2012 police budget is 2.5 million compared to 2006’s expenses of $2.3 million. This is an increase from 2006 by a mere 7.5% which is an average increase of 1.25% per year.

Has the Village considered cutting staff of the Police Department?
Yes. Currently there is one vacant position and as retirements occur, it is anticipated that staffing will drop by an additional two officers over the next 1½ years with those positions not being filled.

Keeping Amberley Village a secure place to live and raise a family has always been a steadfast priority for Village Council, our Police Department and residents alike. Recognizing this importance, the Village Police Department has undergone extensive measures to ensure we have a police force of the highest caliber that provides effective and efficient safety services for the community. Their efforts and dedication have earned the department the status of being a cornerstone of our service delivery.

How does being a combined police and fire department benefit the residents?
The Nationally Accredited Police Department also serves as the Village Fire Department. While nearly all local governments in Ohio have separate police and fire services, Amberley’s police and fire are combined, one of only 2 in Ohio. This unusual and very efficient emergency service saves significant tax dollars each year by comparison to other local communities’ police and fire budgets:

Amberley Village
$2.9 million

Indian Hill
$4.5 million

$5.2 million

$3.3 million


How much will Issue 3, the police levy cost me?













What will happen if the levy does not pass?
Cuts would be made across all areas of the Village, including the Police Department, which will mean significant reductions in services.

View Ballot Language

Energy Aggregation
Enrolling in the New Opt-Out Programs

The next step for the Village energy aggregation is to solicit suppliers and obtain quotes. Proposals were received late last month for the electric aggregation and are currently being reviewed. After a preferred supplier is identified and selected,residents will be informed via the Village website and also by the supplier.

Residents who are a current customer of Duke Energy (Dominion transferred customers to Duke after December 31) will automatically receive a letter from the Village’s selected supplier providing notice of when the opt-out program will begin. Residents will have a 21 day window to opt-out of the programs.

Residents who have signed up with another supplier and wish to participate in the Village’s opt-out program will need to call the Village’s selected supplier and request to be enrolled in the opt-out programs. Residents should first check to see what, if any, cancellation charges may apply before enrolling with the Village’s opt-out program.

The anticipated date for our aggregation to be in place is March 2012. For natural gas aggregation, the Village is receiving proposals in February. We will miss the bulk of the heating season, but natural gas is in abundant supply and rates are lower than normal. Selection of a natural gas supplier will occur after proposals have been received.
For additional questions, you may contact our energy consultant, Eagle Energy at 251-7283 or the Village office at 531-8675. Informational resources may be accessed from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio or the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel.