Sales tax petition drive struggles

A Howland man hoped to force the levy issues onto the November ballot.
WARREN -- The drive to gather 7,170 signatures to force one of the Trumbull County quarter-percent sales taxes to the November ballot appears to be faltering.
Thaddeus Price of Howland, who has until Friday afternoon to get the signatures to county Auditor David Hines, sent an update on his volunteer group's progress to friends and media Friday evening.
The e-mail message concluded: "The affair looks to be a bust."
He said he'd "do it again in a heartbeat to be able to meet the people and hear their stories. I don't think there was one person who signed my petitions that did not express his opinion of disgust and mistrust of the county government."
Price could not be reached by telephone late Friday.
Price wrote that he and Bill Walls, proprietor of B & amp;B Automotive in Warren, will make an assessment of the petition drive by Wednesday.
"I'll probably pass the baton to who ever wants it and move on," he said. "We can't get enough people ... to stop in for a couple of minutes to sign. I don't think I have passed out enough petitions to get 7,000 signed."
The effort has been plagued by two weekends of cold, wet weather.
Wanting a referendum
The petitioners are gathering names to force a referendum on a non-emergency quarter-percent additional sales tax for county general fund operations and to repeal an emergency quarter-percent additional sales tax for criminal justice services, such as the sheriff. Both were imposed by the county commissioners about a month ago.
The nonemergency measure won't take effect July 1 if opponents can meet that Friday deadline with the county auditor's office.
They have until Aug. 25 to get the emergency tax on the November ballot. It would be a repeal effort; those tax collections will still begin July 1. The signatures would be filed with the county board of elections.
Each is a separate petition.

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