COLUMBIANA COUNTY Officials seek an alternative to rise in sales tax

A county office that helps the elderly has a new director.
LISBON -- Columbiana County commissioners are trying to craft a possible alternative to the 0.5-percent sales-tax increase imposed last month.
Commissioners set a special meeting for 3:30 p.m. Friday during which a vote may be held on a compromise.
Commissioners are "seeking a possible alternative or two on the sales-tax issue," Commissioner Sean Logan said Wednesday.
None of the commissioners would elaborate.
Commissioners imposed the 0.5-percent increase to the 1-percent sales tax in late December.
Opposing increase: But a group of county residents has mounted a referendum effort to block collection of the increase and to put the issue on the May ballot.
Opponents of the imposed increase have until late this month to submit valid referendum petitions.
Commissioners say the sales-tax increase is necessary because the county doesn't have enough revenue coming in to meet this year's nearly $16.7 million in departmental budget requests.
Director hired: In other matters, commissioners hired a new director for the Columbiana County Office on Aging.
Iris Marshalek, 53, of Lisbon, will be paid $29,952 annually. She starts Feb. 1. Her salary is paid through state and federal funding.
Marshalek replaces Sandy Glass, who retired in December.
The agency provides services to senior citizens, including helping them with transportation needs and aiding them in applying for social services.
Marshalek has worked for the Community Action Agency of Columbiana County for 27 years as a fiscal officer and director of programs to assist the elderly.
Intervention program: Commissioners approved a contract for a program to address grade-school truants and pupils chronically in trouble.
The federally funded contract is between the county department of job and family services and the county juvenile court.
The court will conduct an intervention program aimed at pupils in grades one through six throughout the county who are chronically truant or engage in frequent misconduct.
Eileen Dray-Bardon, job and family services director, said the program is needed because children at younger ages are exhibiting problem behavior.
The program is expected to receive about 400 referrals between now and when school ends this year. The six-month contract has a spending ceiling of $35,242.

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