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Mahoning officials unite for vote in May

Published: Thu, November 5, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.



YOUNGSTOWN — Two county commissioners and the county treasurer want the county’s half-percent sales tax, defeated by a 57-43 percent vote margin Tuesday, put back before voters in May.

Commissioner John A. McNally IV said Wednesday he agreed with his colleague, Anthony T. Traficanti, chairman of the commissioners, that the voters should see the tax renewal again on the spring ballot.

When he conceded defeat of the tax Tuesday evening, Traficanti had said the voters would see it again in next year’s May primary.

County Treasurer Lisa A. Antonini said that she, too, favors, a new vote in May, which would be the last chance for passage to ensure uninterrupted collection of the tax.

“We need every dime to operate our criminal justice system, the jail, juvenile court, and our administrative agencies,” she added.

McNally said he believes the tax may have failed for a multitude of reasons. He cited voter confusion over ballot language. “The economy might have something to do with it. There might be some people who are just taxed off and don’t want to have anything to do with any taxes,” McNally said.

He noted, however, “Except for a few folks at our second public hearing, we didn’t hear much opposition to the idea of the second half percent being on a continuous basis.” The voters renewed the first half-percent sales tax on a continuous basis in May 2007.

The sales taxes generate about $14 million each in annual revenue for the county’s general fund. The county commissioners put the failed sales tax renewal issue on Tuesday’s ballot as a continuous measure.

Although Traficanti believes the words “additional revenue” in Tuesday’s ballot language hurt the tax, McNally noted that the words “additional revenue” also appeared in the successful 2007 measure.

Antonini said the economic recession is a possible explanation for Tuesday’s failure. “People are suffering and can’t get a job, and maybe they see it as county government wanting more. It wasn’t more. It was just continuing what we already have,” she said.

McNally said he will insist on reviewing the ballot language before the tax returns to the ballot in May and said he thinks the county’s Web site should provide more sales tax and election information. Passage in May will require a concerted effort of all county elected officials in support of it, he said.

As to whether the tax failure should trigger any immediate additional cuts in county government spending, McNally said county officials will soon begin discussions and a series of hearings on next year’s budget.

“I think that’s something we’ll work on in the next couple of months. I’m not going to make any immediate calls for anything to change,” he said.

Without renewal, collection of the second sales tax will stop on Sept. 30.

McNally and County Auditor Michael V. Sciortino said, however, the county would continue to receive money from it through the end of 2010 because of the lag between collections at retailers’ cash registers and the county’s receipt of the money from the state.

When asked about the consequences of a sales-tax failure in May, McNally recalled the commissioners needed to borrow more than $7 million against future sales-tax receipts to fund the county government during the lag between the voters’ May 2005 sales tax reinstatement and the resumption of collections of that tax.

A failure in May would likely bring immediate large cuts in the sheriff’s department and the criminal justice system, with possible closing of parts of the county jail, Antonini said.

Employees of several county departments that get money from the general fund already have taken concessions in the form of unpaid floating holidays, including the sheriff’s department, the clerk of courts, facilities department, commissioners and treasurer’s office.



1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Sales Taxes are too high in Mahoning County. That along with the high income tax rate in Y-town are keeping new businesses away from the valley. The Democrook commissioners need to live and budget at the lower level. Time to lay off all those friends and family on the county's bloated employee budget. We'll watch them squirm and make changes in schedules to aggravate the public to vote for the 1/2% sales tax. Not needed in this economy when most of us can barely afford to pay the mortgage, utility bills, and keep food on the table.

No again in May is the right way to vote!

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2timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

I agree with unionforever ! No in May .These commisioners just don't get it. They are over paid and have they discussed taking a cut in pay and benfits? No Way ! The sherfiff office and the jailers have they discussed taking cuts in pay and benfits ?No Way ! How about the engineers department have they discussed taking cuts in pay and benfits ? What about the Justice system has the Judges and Prosecutor discussed taking cuts in pay and benfits ? No way ! And the rest of Goverment offices feel the same. No way ! Well myself I had to take cuts in pay and benfits as a Journeyman Craftsman and pay more for Major Medical INS. I know that don't matter to anyone but me because I'm in the PUBLIC SECTOR. NOT A PUBLIC SERVANT ! Which bring us to the word SERVANT. Who are these people SERVING ? Themselves ! That's what I'm thinking.

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3NoBS(2758 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

The commissioners can grasp at straws and talk about the wording on the ballot, but other issues with 'typos' seemed to do all right. The library issue is a good example. I'll bet few people outside the Youngstown area (and a large percentage within it!) never heard the name Reuben McMillan.

I'd like to see the county put an either-or issue on the ballot. One could vote for either the continuous tax, or another segment of the renewal. That would show the commissioners conclusively that people here don't want to just give up our money. We want the commissioners to have to justify their spending, and for them to expect to be held accountable for their actions.

I think a renewal has a better chance of passing than a permanent tax.

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4Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Nice attire worn by the Major and the Sheriff. Why isn't Ludt mentioned in this article?

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5UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

YSUgrad99 - the criminals are doing that now with our higher sales tax rate and highest crime rate in the state of Ohio. The higher sales tax would make no difference with Mahoning Counties high crime rate. It's all about the lack of good paying jobs and high local taxes do not produce businesses interested in coming to your area to supply those high paying jobs. The county budget is bloated and it's time to trim the obese non-productive employees from the county payrolls. All you have to do is look at that picture of Traficanti & company yesterday sitting at the table to see what we mean.

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6Viewpoint(89 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

How much of our tax dollars went to buy those cute little stars worn but those in this picture?

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7Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

YSY grad wrote: "When they're breaking into your home...

I live for that day. And so do others. Those working the jail should pass this on to the prisoners.


“I know what you’re thinking, punk. You’re thinking ‘did he fire six shots or only five?’ Now to tell you the truth I forgot myself in all this excitement. But being this is a .44 Magnum, the most powerful handgun in the world and will blow your head clean off, you’ve gotta ask yourself a question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?”

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8olepops45(39 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

I can only imagine what the united strategy the powers that be will employ to pass this tax that the voters clearly said no to.

Threaten less upkeep on county roads.(As it stands, pothole patching is their regular ideal fix, cutting back on salting and employee's when we need the most. Not having foresight to buy supplies when prices are reasonable).

Prosecuting only short winnable cases. Plea bargaining most winnable cases. (How much does the DA and his subordinates make, Isn't public service, to a degree required by the bar)?

Judges need their over inflated budgets and will sue to secure funding. (As if their standards of pomp and decorum actually mete out true justice).

The head of law enforcement will be unable to perform his job and release many prisoners. (This has happened even with the tax. Many areas charge inmates for their incarceration, others release only non-violent misdemeanor offenders who are not considered a risk to the public.

Lastly, the united front will be to wear down the voters and keep this on the ballot, ‘ad-infinatum‘. By then, it will need to be increased, as the budget will be in the red, since the brass will keep their perks and dish the problem on the employees and voters.

I will vote no again in May and November. Let's not forget, they may try to catch us off guard with a special election. It's a shame they can't comprehend a clear no vote.

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9Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

“People are suffering and can’t get a job"

They acknowledge this fact but still want their tax money . They don't see your lack of money as their problem . Compassion for those who pay taxes is minimal at best .

Until the economy picks up taxpayers will be irate enough to vote their feelings . At election time let's select leaders who are in touch with reality .

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10jimiohoh(88 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

UnionForever - this is why the payrolls and benefits keep rising with no end in sight! Unions keep sucking the life blood. You want all the perks with no way to get the money. Sounds just like the typical democrat. Make the county lock-up a private business and watch the budget come down. Just one example to look at but would never be done with the union mentallity here.

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11AKAFR1(322 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

YSUgrad...you better get your money back from YSU. This is a new tax because the terms are different from the original tax. This tax will be PERMANENT which means that the taxpayer will not be able to vote in the future on whether this tax is being spent properly. Given this power, the commissioners will care less about spending and saving the taxpayer money.

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12candystriper(575 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Does Cuba take refugees?

... I'm thinking I'll set sail from the Mahoning River and see if they will let me raft on in.

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13valleyresident(24 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Well if anyone doesnt know the sad thing of this is that the sheriff deputies took an eight hour pay cut every two weeks to help the county. And the county still needs this tax? It is a shame that deputies who start out only make around 12-13 dollars an hour took an eight hour every two week pay cut to help the county with money. Why arent the courts, adminastrators,and other employees taking cuts? The commisioners are liars!!! I will continue to vote no on any sales tax renewals. I have the up must respect for all the deputies that took pay cuts to help the county. My advice to all deputies is the commisioners are liars and you would had been better off not taking the pay cut because either way they are going to lay you off. DId Lewandowski take a pay cut? He shouldn't even have a job since he shot a bullet through a home in Boardman.

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140110dd(1 comment)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Why were concessions only taken by the Sheriff's Dept, Clerk of Courts, Facilities, Commissioners' Office and Treasurer's Office????? Every County Office should have had to take concessions . . .

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15yeahright(20 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

The commissioners thought no one would object to the sales tax since no one attended the hearings. HELLO MORONS! You held the meetings when the few employed (aka TAXPAYERS) were working to pay your salaries! I really don't think our commisioners are good stewards of our tax dollars. Did you see how they caved into Belinkey? ALL 3 COMMISSIONERS AND BELINKEY HAVE TO GO!!!!

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16joebag09(352 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

No permanent tax...PERIOD! In May or whenever! When you have people making decisions like ..Sheriff Wellinton/ Maj. Budd....how much did that cost taxpayers? You folks have to be darn responsilbe with our money...period.

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17timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Elected officals of ever Goverment Dept. need to take a major cut in pay,pension,vacation,and major medical. And stress the other 87 counties do the same in their county's. As far as the hourly empoyees you need to take a cut in pay,pension,vacation,anunities and major medical insurance! This I'm sure will create a large flow of money for the Public Sectors Services ! And isn't that what you were hire for or voted for ? Or is it for ones self service which you all have been doing since time started ?

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18sided7(19 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Almost two years ago the Sheriff's Office took a 25% cut in wage which included a 10% cut in hours. When the starting wage is less than 24,000 a year, that puts a good portion of the Department at around 19,000 a year. These are people that have to raise families and pay for houses. The union did this to preserve jobs almost two years ago and now if this tax doesn't pass it's hard to imagine half the jail closing down again and an estimated 50-75 Deputies being laid off. This is just one department also. There are still Court Houses and other Public Services through out the county that count on one half of one cent for every dollar you spend. It's hard to believe that people are so against the County Government where they live they'd rather vote down the income of money, than vote out the people spending it or blame it on people that have been in prison for over three years (Major Budd). Don't like it, then please do something to change it to make it positive or move.

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19SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

@7- I hsve the greatest respect for the deputies who made the sacrifice they did to help the budget.

Unfortunately, the rest of the county employees were not so charitable, especially the elected ones.

I voted against the sales tax for 1 reason, they had the audacity to make it permanent. If they had just put it on as a 5 year renewal as in the past I would have voted for it.

@YSU99- It is a matter of principle- the commissioners do not like to have to answer to the voters, so if they make the tax permanent, they don't have to.

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20SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

What really astounds me about the voters in this county is they will elect some one as Sherriff of this county with a track record of being chief of police for the city with the highest crime rate (per capita) of any city in the country. Now he heads the Sherriff's dept in a county with one of the highest crime rates in the country- and they keep re-elcting him to boot!

I guess the old addage that people get what they vote for is REALLY alive and well in this area. It's no wonder went can't attract any new jobs to this community.

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21SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

"Activities engaged in by a citizen to prevent

The Government from CONFISCATING the

fruits of His labor are the noblest endeavors

of man."

Benjamin Franklin

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22timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

sided 7, Your numbers don't add up ! 24,000 a year. Come on you know better than that.10% cut in hours. You better research your facts. Even the smallest counties start more than that !

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23Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

"A nation of sheep begets a government of wolves."
=E Murrow

* Why do our taxes continue to rise, government services stay worse than ever, and we just pay the taxes and re-electthose who raised them?

* Why do people in government never acknowledge a mistake and why do we accept that?

* Why does the government continue to regulate private behavior?

* Why do both Republicans and Democrats bring about bigger and more expensive government?

* What ever happened to our individual inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness that are guaranteed by the Declaration of Independence, yet ignored by the governments elected to protect them?

* Why does Congress keep telling the States what to do?

* Why does every public office holder swear allegiance to the Constitution, yet very few follow it?

* Why are we afraid of the governments we have hired to protect our freedoms?

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24Tugboat(759 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago


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25SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

@Tugoat- It is time for the voters to do a thorough "House Cleaning" and elect people wo are going to represent US, not themselves or some political party.

If they are not going to listen, we can see that they join the ranks of the unemployed!

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26valleypoboy(224 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

Seems like everyone here thinks the commissioners are the root of the problem - let's take that as a given. Voting against the sales tax is a bit like turning off the heat in a house you own. Pretty soon pipes break and other things go wrong.
All of the people you criticize above are elected. If you don't like what they do - and really ALL of them are bad, not one good one? - then you should focus on voting them out of office. This "sending a message" stuff is crap. You flatter yourselves. The only real way to save taxpayer dollars is cutting duplication of services. Just how many mayors, city councils, zoning inspectors, and the like do we need? Consolidation - not only of services - but of political subdivisions is the only way to save some real bucks. Of course, that also removes a lot of opportunity for payroll padding that everyone is sure is taking place in all county offices. There are 2/3 less people here than were here 20 years ago but those left still support all these little towns and jobs. Really, is Campbell still a viable city? Wake up, look around, and work (not b&*^h) for real change.

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27timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years, 7 months ago

All county workers and elected officals need to take a cut in pay, pensions, anunities and vacation. I'm thinking 30% in all of the above ! Your just Servants and p poor ones!

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