COLUMBIANA COUNTY New formula would level tax distribution

Salem City Council voted to decrease East Liverpool's power over the distribution.
SALEM -- The city is joining other communities throughout Columbiana County to adopt a new method of sharing the state tax dollars awarded each year.
A decision is expected late next month by the county budget commission on a new distribution formula for the so-called local government funds, city Councilwoman Nancy Cope, R-at-large, said following a special council meeting Tuesday.
The new method is expected to give most cities, villages and townships a larger share of the funds than they have previously received, Cope said.
Several million dollars in local government funds are distributed within the county each year. In 2002, the funds totaled about $5.2 million.
One community that won't be receiving as much of the local government funds in 2003 as it has in the past is East Liverpool, Cope said.
For years, East Liverpool has been getting about 27 percent of the funds, although many other communities and townships in the county have said the city should get about 18 percent.
No more veto
In the past, East Liverpool has used the veto power it has by virtue of being the county's largest city to scrap any alternative formula for distribution.
But a new state law passed in June provides for stripping East Liverpool of its veto power and allows a majority of the other communities in the county to adopt a new funding formula.
Salem City Council's special meeting Tuesday was to adopt a resolution required by the new law. The resolution serves as Salem's vote to abolish East Liverpool's veto.
For the veto removal to be final, however, similar resolutions must be passed by political entities representing 51 percent of the county's population.
An ample number of such resolutions are likely to be passed in the next few weeks, Cope said.
Details of the 2003 funding formula are being worked out by a group of officials representing political subdivisions throughout the county, said Cope, a participant in the talks.
Whatever funding formula is decided upon, Cope said she's convinced East Liverpool will be treated fairly. "We're not trying to stick it to East Liverpool," she said. "We're just trying to level the playing field."

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