The Mahoning County commissioners have placed a 3⁄4 percent sales tax dedicated to public safety on the Nov. 4 ballot.
On Wednesday, the three commissioners voted unanimously to place on the ballot the version of the tax that restricts use of its revenues to the sheriff’s, prosecutor’s, and coroner’s offices and 911 emergency dispatching center.
The commissioners had presented at the recent sales tax hearings in Youngstown and Canfield both the restricted version and an alternative version that would have allowed unrestricted use of the revenue in the county’s general fund, which is its main operating fund.
The measure would renew for five years an existing half-percent sales tax that generates about $16 million a year and add a quarter percent tax of the same duration that would generate about $8 million annually, for a combined total of about $24 million.
Of the county’s $53.3 million 2013 general fund budget, $39.1 million, or 73.43 percent, went to public safety and court functions.
“Going with an extra one-quarter percent is not a popular decision, but you show unity and that you’re doing the right thing and you care about the criminal-justice system,” Sheriff Jerry Greene told the commissioners after their vote.
“This will be the first time that the voters in Mahoning County will actually have a chance to vote for a sales tax that they know exactly what the money is going to be spent on,” he added.
Read the complete story in Thursday's Vindicator or on Vindy.com.