Columbiana commissioners enact sales tax

LISBON — The Columbiana County commissioners, in a split vote today, enacted the 0.5 percent sales tax starting April 1.

The tax, if collected for a full year, would generate about $4 million. The county, however, would not receive revenue from the tax until July because of the lag time from when the tax is collected by the state and when the money starts filtering back to the county.

Commissioner Sean Logan, in his last scheduled meeting as commissioner before becoming the new director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and fellow Democrat Daniel Bing, in his first meeting as a commissioner, voted to enact the tax.

Republican Jim Hoppel voted against the move.

Voters could sign petitions to block collection of the tax.

The county’s two common pleas judges, C. Ashley Pike and David Tobin, told the commissioners they need a minimum of $10,000 now to continue operations. They said they will simply shut down their courts when they run out of money.

The recent figures released by county Prosecutor Robert Herron indicated about a 22 percent increase in major criminal cases in the last year. Judge Pike said he and Judge Tobin are each carrying a caseload of about 600 cases of all types at any one time.

Judge Tobin added the county’s grand jury is meeting more frequently to handle the rising number of criminal cases.

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