COLUMBIANA CO. Hoppel to lead board

The county's gloomy financial outlook will be his priority.
LISBON -- Co lumbiana County Commissioner Jim Hoppel will guide the panel in the upcoming year.
Meeting Monday for their annual reorganization, commissioners selected Hoppel chairman of the three-member board.
Sean Logan was named vice chairman.
Hoppel, entering his sixth year on the board, is replacing Dave Cranmer, who was chairman the past two years.
Hoppel is a Republican. Logan and Cranmer are Democrats.
Cranmer said after the meeting that he felt it was time someone else served as chairman, and that party politics don't play a role in that selection.
Hoppel said he may be new as chairman, but he has served in a leadership role before.
He was president of the Beaver School District board of education for five of the seven years he served from 1990 through 1996.
Financial situation: Hoppel said one of his priorities will be to focus on the county's financial plight.
Commissioners have said they're about $4 million short of the estimated $16.7 million it will take to run the county this year.
The panel voted in late December to impose a 0.5 percent increase to the county's 1 percent sales tax.
The increase will bring in about $3 million annually.
But more cuts will be needed to close the funding gap, commissioners note.
It's possible the tax increase, which doesn't take effect for about six weeks, may be blocked before collections can begin.
Some county residents opposed to the imposed increase are mounting a referendum effort that would thwart collections and place the question of an increase before voters.

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