County, municipal, township and police officials were dominant among the speakers and in the audience of about 75 people at tonight's hearing at the Covelli Centre on Mahoning County's sales tax proposals.
After county officials delivered their presentations, eight people spoke in favor of the tax, and none against it.
Passage of the three-quarter percent Mahoning County sales tax Nov. 4 is critical to the county’s security and economic vitality, speakers said.
“If we don’t provide a safe community and a safe environment for our county, we can’t grow the population, we can’t create economic development, we can’t do the things that we want to do as a county and move ourselves forward,” said county Commissioner Chairman David Ditzler.
Of the county’s $53.3 million 2013 general fund budget, $39.1 million, or 73.43 percent, went to public safety and judicial functions of county government, said Audrey Tillis, county budget director.
Almost all of the county’s sales tax revenue goes to its general fund, which is its main operating fund.
The commissioners are offering two sales tax options for public comment.
Either option would raise about $24 million annually. One, however, would restrict the money’s use to the sheriff’s, coroner’s, and prosecutor’s offices and the 911 emergency dispatching center.
The other option would allow unrestricted use of the money in the county’s general fund, which is its main operating fund.
The second tax hearing will be at 6 p.m. Monday at McMahon Hall at Mill Creek MetroParks Farm in Canfield.
For more on tonight's discussion, read Friday's Vindicator or Vindy.com.