LINCOLN HEIGHTS, Ohio (AP) — A Cincinnati suburb that’s too broke to pay the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office to patrol its streets is asking a state auditor to look into its finances.
Lincoln Heights owes about $650,000 and informed county officials last week that it doesn’t have enough money to pay that bill or cover future costs, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported (http://cin.ci/1ScznE7 ).
“This is a situation of grave concern to the county,” Commissioner Dennis Deters said. “A community that can’t handle the basics of public safety should put everybody on high alert.”
The community has been heading toward insolvency for years, and some have suggested that it might be time to disband the village. If that happened, Lincoln Heights could be absorbed by a larger community such as Cincinnati or Springfield Township.
County officials said they won’t abandon the village and its 3,200 residents. But they’ve called Ohio Auditor Dave Yost to investigate the village’s finances and determine what can be done to help.
Lincoln Heights disbanded its police department in October 2014 after losing its insurance and the sheriff’s office took over patrols for about $700,000 a year. But officials said the town paid little of that last year and none this year.
County Administrator Christian Sigman said the village is also in arrears for as much as $1 million on its pension contributions to the state for its former police officers.
Village officials couldn’t immediately be reached for comment.
The patrols will continue as the county and village work toward a solution, officials said.
Information from: The Cincinnati Enquirer, http://www.enquirer.com