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Mahoning commissioners propose quarter-percent sales tax hike

Published: Fri, December 6, 2013 @ 12:10 a.m.


Carol Rimedio-Righetti, commissioners chairwoman

By Peter H. Milliken



The Mahoning County commissioners are proposing a one-quarter percent sales tax increase next year.

On Thursday, they agreed to conduct January public hearings concerning a May 6 vote on a sales tax renewal with a sales tax increase.

County Budget Director Audrey Tillis said a one-quarter percent increase, which would generate an extra $7.5 million in annual revenue for the county, is necessary to compensate for losses of revenue in recent years from the state, from the county’s investments and from the loss of federal prisoners in the county jail.

The commissioners distributed a fact sheet showing what they said was $10.5 million in lost revenue since 2008, including a $3.2 million loss in investment income, a $2.9 million decline in state funding, and a $4.4 million loss in revenue that came from housing federal prisoners in the county lockup.

The county budget commission has estimated 2014 revenues at $50.2 million for the general fund, which is the county’s main operating fund.

Carol Rimedio-Righetti, commissioners chairwoman, said the board will consider either placing a single issue on the May ballot to renew a current half percent sales tax continuously and to add an extra one- quarter percent for five years; or splitting the two issues into separate questions.

The county’s other half percent sales tax already is a continuous tax with no stated expiration date.

“We’re below where we need to be” in income, Tillis said. “This is not about building a reserve. This is about funding essential services of county government,” she added.

“No politician in the history of government wants to raise taxes, but it’s the right thing to do” under current circumstances, said county Auditor Michael V. Sciortino. “We need this to sustain the level of services that we’re providing now,” he added.

“It’s the right thing to do because we still have to service 265,000 people and make them happy and safe no matter where they live” in Mahoning County, Righetti agreed.

Righetti and Sciortino, who are running for re-election next year, were joined at Thursday’s meeting by a host of other county officials who said the increase is necessary.

The sales tax hearings will be at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 6 at the Covelli Centre, 229 E. Front St., and at 10:30 a.m. Jan. 13 in the commissioners’ hearing room in the county courthouse basement.

Currently, Mahoning and Portage counties are among 15 Ohio counties with a total sales tax rate of 7 percent. Forty-nine of Ohio’s 88 counties, including Columbiana, have total sales taxes of 7.25 percent; and Cuyahoga County has the highest rate at 8 percent.

Nineteen Ohio counties, including Trumbull, have a 6.75 percent sales tax; and four, including Stark, charge 6.5 percent.

The commissioners also entered into a $430,158 agreement with MS Consultants Inc. of Youngstown for engineering services for the widening of Western Reserve Road between Hitchcock Road and Market Street. The widening project will be funded in full by the federal government.

The commissioners also entered into a $259,000 contract with Prout Boiler, Heating and Welding Inc. of Youngstown for boiler replacement at the county’s Martin P. Joyce Juvenile Justice Center, which has had the same boiler system since it opened in 1979.

The commissioners also voted to apply to the Ohio Department of Development for a $50,000 grant from the local government innovation fund for a study to help plan for the future of 911 emergency dispatching, including possible consolidation of the county’s eight 911 answering points into fewer answering locations.


1UNCOMMONSENSE(622 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Show me that you have cut expenses first, then tell me you need additional revenue.

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2palbubba(802 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

To formerdemliberal, I couldn't agree more. These career politicians only know how to continually raise taxes. If they have lost $4.4 million in revenue from housing federal prisoners shouldn't there be an offsetting savings in expense? I forgot this is the government. If no politician wants to raise taxes, why are they constantly being raised? As services constantly decline tax income keeps going up. Wake up and vote these bums out.

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3Minority_Voter(18 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Brothers and Sisters, as long as Carol Rimedio-Righetti "the Queen of Mean" who openly uses the N word is a commissioner we cannot and we will not support her or her sales tax.

She is the puppet of Devil Dog Betras and his clan of racists in the Democratic party. Carol Rimedio-Righetti gone and Betras gone, unite my brothers and sisters we can and we must take our party back! Next year we get rid of both of them and elect new people!

God Bless and the fight continues!

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4DwightK(1535 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Maybe Gov. Kasich could open up the rainy day fund and return some of the funds to local governments. Cutting state funding has done nothing but raise local taxes.

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5questionreality(728 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

We have been repeatedly sacked:


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6bmanresident(607 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Didn't we just raise the sales tax to help fund the empty buses that drive around the county?

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7Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Vindy: Please look and see the salary increases in auditor's office.

Did Sciortino reimburse state and county for investigations of his behavior?

Why can't Righetti take a pay cut?

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8redeye1(5615 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

Until they make MAJOR cuts , we should NOT vote for any NEW tax increases or any kind of tax PERIOD!!!!!!

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9westcomm11(23 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

I have a great idea,
why don't the commissioners take a pay cut ,after all they get paid more than their worth.

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10grazor50(104 comments)posted 2 years, 6 months ago

REMEMBER This is a sales tax, just as in income tax, government automatically gets more income from everyone that receives more money (INCOME TAX) and spends (SALES TAX ),, also from every time a product price goes up,,,, more revenue for the government. 10 years ago, cars cost $8000,, now sell for $30,000, think of that revenue increase in sales tax. Vindy headlines just stated the big boost in AUTO sales,,, that equates to a big boost in COUNTY tax revenue.
WAKE up tax payer,, time to downsize government and eliminate waste. COUNTY workers are to work instead of seeing 2 men working while 5 stand and watch,, enough is enough.

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