1% sales-tax revenue exceeds expectations

Commissioners used part of the additional funds to pay off a court settlement.
LISBON -- Columbiana County's 1 percent sales tax is doing better than expected, making more money available for general fund spending.
Commissioners said Wednesday that the county budget commission recently authorized spending an additional $345,969 for general fund needs.
The additional money represents revised estimates of revenue and receipts beyond what county officials conservatively projected when they crafted the 2002 general fund budget.
About $325,000 of the additional funding is from the county's 1 percent sales tax.
Commissioner President Jim Hoppel explained that officials originally predicted the tax would earn about $5.8 million this year. But it's now on a pace to bring in about $7 million by year's end.
Commissioners allocated the additional $345,969 to pay bills and other necessary expenses.
Judges' lawsuits
About $184,655 was earmarked for county common pleas courts, whose judges sued commissioners earlier this year demanding more funding to pay for court-related operations.
The money was part of a settlement the parties entered into earlier this year to have the suit dismissed.
Hoppel said he's hopeful that more money will become available for the general fund later this year, when revenue from an additional 0.5 percent sales tax imposed by commissioners several weeks ago begins coming in.
In other business, commissioners approved implementation of a $500,000 state-administered federal grant awarded to the county to help individuals with low to moderate incomes.
The money will be used to lease personal computers. They will be lent to qualified applicants, who will use them to acquire computer skills.
Part of the grant also is being used to buy software to help people explore new careers.
Also, the grant will pay for federally mandated safety training for workers holding or seeking certain jobs.
Commissioners are considering giving to the city of Columbiana a former state roadside park owned by the county.
The park, which has fallen into disrepair, is along West Salem Street near Pearl Street in Columbiana.
The city has indicated an interest in acquiring and maintaining the park as part of its system.
Commissioners also agreed to seek bids for a federally funded project in Leetonia that will include installation of 1,500 feet of waterline and the replacement of some fire hydrants.

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