Akron Announces Nearly $16 Million In 2020 Road, Safety Spending Plans

A view of Akron from its Lock 3 Park
Levy funds will go toward road repairs, police cruisers and a new fire station. [Mark Urycki / ideastream]

Akron will spend $15.8 million on safety and road repair in 2020, according the plans released Wednesday by the city for its “safety and streets fund,” financed by an income tax levy passed in 2017.

The police and fire departments will get about $5 million each to replace vehicles, including 28 police cruisers and two fire engines. The city wasn’t able to invest much into vehicle maintenance and repair prior to the levy, said city spokesperson Ellen Lander Nischt.

“Our equipment was so old, we had holes in the floorboards of some of our police cruisers,” Lander Nischt said. “We really had not been able to invest in that equipment for many years due to state tax-sharing cuts.”

The 2017 levy imposed an additional 0.25 percent income tax for the police and fire departments, as well as general roadway improvements. It also will aid in maintaining adequate staffing at both departments, she said. How to put a number on “adequate staffing” is still being discussed, Lander Nischt said, as departments consider how many officers and firefighters are needed to cover the city’s needs.

“Obviously, we need to always be looking to replace people who are leaving for retirement and other means,” Lander Nischt said.

Over the past two years, the City of Akron replaced Fire Station 2 in Middlebury and Fire Station 4 downtown. This year’s levy funds will partially finance the replacement of Fire Station 12, on the city’s northwest side. Construction is set to begin in 2021.

The remaining $4.75 million in safety and streets funds will go toward repaving city streets.

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