MAHONING VALLEY Tax issues return to ballot
Some school districts are lowering millage requests to try to gain support.
VINDICATOR STAFF REPORT
Voters may do a double take when they go to the polls in November.
More than 20 school and local government tax issues rejected by voters in either the March 2 primary or Aug. 3 special election are back on the ballot.
Some of the tax levies were reduced with the hope that residents would be more supportive of a scaled-down proposal.
For example, South Range schools reduced its millage for a new tax levy from 6.9 in the March primary to 5.9 in the November general election. The 6.9-mill proposal received 46.2 percent support. Western Reserve schools dropped the millage on a new levy from 5.7 in March to 5.6 for November. The March levy failed by 23 votes. Bristol reduced its millage from 6.9 in August to 5.5 mills in November.
Mahoning County commissioners are seeking a 0.5-percent sales tax for a continuing period of time on the November ballot. Voters rejected a five-year renewal of the sales tax in March.
Thursday was the filing deadline for questions, issues and options to be submitted to county boards of elections. The boards have until Aug. 26 to certify the proposals.
Also, it was the deadline for nonpartisan races; there is only one in the Mahoning Valley. It pits Judge David D'Apolito of Canfield running for re-election, opposed by David J. Gerchak of Austintown for a seat on the Mahoning County Court.
The Western Reserve Transit Authority attempted to place two tax renewals, both for 2 mills, that don't expire until next year on the November ballot. At the request of the board of elections, the county prosecutor issued an opinion stating Ohio law doesn't permit tax levies to be considered for renewal until the tax year they will expire. Because of that, the WRTA levies will not be on the November ballot.
In Trumbull County, a dozen school districts and townships told no this year by voters regarding tax levies are asking for another chance in November. Among them are five school districts that had levies rejected earlier this month.
Bristol, Liberty, LaBrae, Lakeview and Weathersfield all have property tax levies on the general election ballot. Voters rejected levies in those districts in a special election earlier this month.
Howland, Newton Falls and Southington school districts and Trumbull Career and Technical Center also are asking voters to approve levies.
Only one countywide issue greets Trumbull voters in November.
Trumbull County Lifelines, formerly the Trumbull County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board, is asking voters to approve a 10-year, 1-mill replacement levy.
Hubbard city is asking voters to approve a 0.5-percent income tax to build a new police station and fund other capital improvements and voters in Girard as being asked to approve two separate 3-mill levies, one each for the police and fire departments.
In Columbiana County, a bond issue rejected two weeks ago by voters in the Beaver school district is back on the ballot. Also, four levies rejected in March -- Salem parks, Unity Township, United schools, and Wellsville -- are on the November ballot.
Also, Columbiana County commissioners hope voters will approve a continuous 1-percent sales tax to provide stable funding; the same tactic being used by their counterparts in Mahoning County. A five-year sales tax was approved by voters during the last presidential election. The commissioners hope this year's presidential turnout and a promotional committee will result in a win for the often-defeated tax.
In Salem, voters will consider two initiative petitions that would give voters a say if the city tries to abolish its fire department and create a new fire district with Perry Township. The petitions would block the city from abolishing the department or joining a fire district without a public vote. Salem prepared legislation for a fire levy or an income tax to boost its coffers but didn't put either on the ballot.
Also, voters in the three counties will consider 72 liquor options on the November ballot. In comparison, voters in the three counties considered 23 liquor options on the November 2003 ballot.
XPolitics Writer David Skolnick, Denise Dick of The Vindicator Trumbull Staff, and D.A. Wilkinson of The Vindicator Salem Bureau contributed to this report.