More than 50 come out for final sales-tax hearing

CANFIELD — Passage of the three-quarter percent sales tax slated for the Nov. 4 ballot is essential because of cuts in state funding to local governments, Mahoning County Prosecutor Paul J. Gains told an audience of more than 50 this evening at the second of two public hearings on the tax.

“Columbus has taken money from us, and they’re telling us: ‘You have to now pay on your own. You’re on your own, people,’ and we are on our own,” Gains said.

“We’re coming to you because Columbus has cut us, and we have no choice but to come to you in order to maintain the progress that we’ve made in making this a safe community; and it is a far safer community today than it has been in the last two decades,” Gains added.

The county commissioners presented two sales tax options for public comment.

Both would renew an existing half-percent sales tax for five years and add a quarter-percent tax of the same duration.

Either option would raise about $24 million annually.

One of the options would restrict the money’s use to the sheriff’s, coroner’s and prosecutor’s offices and the 911 emergency dispatching center.

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 of county government.

The second option would allow unrestricted use of the money in the county’s general fund, which is its main operating fund.

For the complete story, read Tuesday's Vindicator and

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