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Deputies’ union head: We need another tax

Published: Sat, May 29, 2010 @ 12:01 a.m.




The president of the union representing Mahoning County deputy sheriff is proposing a November ballot initiative for a new sales tax dedicated solely to the sheriff’s department.

“I hate to go to the people and ask them for more taxes, but the fact of the matter is the half-percent they just voted on, they thought was going to fix our problem,” said Sheriff’s Deputy Glenn Kountz, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 141.

Kountz was referring to the half- percent sales tax the county’s voters renewed May 4 by a 2-1 margin for five years.

Despite renewal of that tax, the county is facing a recession-induced financial crisis that caused the sheriff to issue layoff notices May 21 to 86 deputies and two civilian employees of the sheriff’s department, effective June 6, in conjunction with the closing of half of the county jail.

“The people have been calling us, calling the sheriff’s office, blaming him, blaming us for laying off and letting inmates out,” Kountz said. In an interview outside the county jail on Friday, Kountz said he does not yet know what percentage the new tax would be.

“It’s going to be miserable in here when we lay off because we don’t know how we can release inmates because of the city’s stance,” that it will sue if county jail inmates are released in violation of municipal judges’ orders, Kountz said.

“The public should be outraged because I think their safety is in jeopardy,” Kountz said, adding that crime and the jail population typically rise during the summer.

County Administrator George J. Tablack declined to comment on the proposed new tax, saying, “I have no legal authority over that matter.”

Kountz also said the union will pay its own forensic auditor to audit the county’s books at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000.

“I don’t know who to believe. If you believe [County Auditor Michael] Sciortino, it’s this. If you believe Tablack, it’s that,’’ Kountz explained.

Kountz said the sheriff’s $11.8 million budget for this year is $1 million less that his budget for 1996, the year the Fifth Avenue jail opened. Last year, the sheriff spent $17.3 million.

Tablack said his revenue projections have been accurate over the last several years, and that the sheriff’s budget dropped sharply below last year’s level because of the loss of revenue from city and federal prisoners who were housed in the county jail.

Sheriff’s department employees lost that income “through no fault of their own, but the income is gone,” Tablack said.

The county’s agreement with the Corrections Corp. of America for the housing of up to 150 federal prisoners in the county jail expired last year, and the city’s payments for its prisoners stopped with the February 2010 expiration of a three-year city-county agreement.

Kountz said union members plan informational picketing at the county administration building as the layoffs take effect.

“It’s his prerogative,” Sheriff Randall A. Wellington said of the picketing, declining to comment on the other issues Kountz raised.

“We’re waiting for the commissioners to act, and they’re not acting. They’re not doing anything. They have no plan” to address the financial crisis, Kountz said.

“This problem he refers to is something that every government in the entire United States is experiencing today. It’s the recession,” Tablack said.

With 6,000 signatures gathered of the 15,000 required, Kountz said his effort to recall the county commissioners is proceeding.


1timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years ago

Kountz said a tax is needed ! Hey Kountz why not work for less money? Are you and your people above the private sector? We have taken many many cuts. What have you cut? Hardly anything! The law is the law and these non-violet criminals will be let go because of your fellow officers won't take a cut. If you all took 30% cut what would that bring the budget. Just figured it out. Or don't you know math flat foot !

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2furnaceman1(2 comments)posted 6 years ago

tim how much is your life worth what i see here probably not much . put on a uniform of some kind and put your self in the line of fire then lets see you take a 30 % cut ask me there not ch is your life worth? from paid enough.

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3furnaceman1(2 comments)posted 6 years ago

i cant see another sales tax but what if at restarunts stores and distributores we charge $0.10 per draft or shot booze $.50 a six pack and a $1.00 a case state wide and all this money goes to local law enforcement i bet it would raise enough

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4palbubba(802 comments)posted 6 years ago

I hope everyone remembers the Youngstown safety forces promises when they wanted the city tax passed. What a joke that was. I can only promise that if they pass this tax I will move out of this state.

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5Silence_Dogood(1669 comments)posted 6 years ago

Tax increases vs. wage cuts, let the voters decide and it will be wage cuts EVERY TIME.Glenn Kountz lives in a dream world.

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6joebag09(352 comments)posted 6 years ago

Until there are more apparent "fixes" within this department....NO NEW TAXES here! Seeing a cruiser out on 224 running radar is a huge waste, for one!

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7Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

Let's increase the sales tax by an extra two per cent . This should hold things together for a couple of years . A twenty five percent tax on crack cocaine would eliminate the need for any other funds to run the city .

At 8.25%, California has the highest state sales tax in the United States, which can total up to 10.75% with local sales tax included.

Ohio has a 5.5% state sales tax.Counties may levy a permissive sales tax of from 0.25% up to 2.5% and transit authorities, mass transit districts usually centered on one primary county, may levy a sales tax of from 0.25% up to 2.5%. Cuyahoga county has the highest sales tax of 7.75%. Tax increments may not be less than 0.25%, and the total tax rate, including the state rate, may not exceed 8.5%.

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8timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years ago

furnaceman,My life is worth a great deal ! If anyone walks in, breaks in,or any other crimes I won't need the uniform to protect me,but you better buy a protective vest for the criminal. He'll be shot dead! Look at Columbiana County with Civi Genics they get along fine without a union. You paint this picture Y-Town is the baddest place on earth and that's my point. Work for less and show the tax payer you truly do care and it's just not a job!

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9timOthy(802 comments)posted 6 years ago

ImUrPro, Ten to Twelve dollars would be fine plus benefits. An their benefits should be higher than than the Deputies. After all Deputies make more and they can contribute more to their own health and welfare.And with that said go to the Court House and do the same with those workers. They are servants and should never be paid close to the Private Sector. And one last thing. How come these jobs don't go to the Jobs and Family Service for employment to fill a position when need? I guess it knocks out the Civic (CULT) Clubs then! Which is the REAL problem too.

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10SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years ago

Since Mahoning County Voters have been such good little Democrats, maybe the commissioners should ask Timmy Boy if he can get the Great Nobama to pull another $20mm in stimulus money out of his butt to Save or Create another 100 jobs and keep the jail staffed and the citizens safe.

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11Stan(9923 comments)posted 6 years ago

In Youngstown we don't have what you could describe in general terminology as criminals . WE HAVE CULTURE ! AS IN SUBCULTURE AND NO THEY AREN'T JUST IN ONE RACE ! We have a broad spectrum which could be called a diversity . The bloom of the subculture spreads over broad expanses of the town . They have their own laws and punishment system . Idle time gives them plenty of opportunity for growth . The young become part of this enterprise while they are still in school . Law enforcement is overwhelmed trying just to keep basic order .

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12SkyKing310B(315 comments)posted 6 years ago

Amen, Stan- You are so right!

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