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Rural parts of Mahoning County overwhelmingly voted against the sales tax

Published: Sun, May 11, 2014 @ 12:05 a.m.

For probate judge, Campbell gives Maruca big boost

By David Skolnick



The Mahoning County 0.5-percent sales tax lost in the primary election because most rural residents voted against it.

The tax proposal to make the five-year renewal continuous lost by only 519 votes, 1.6 percentage points, in Tuesday’s primary.

But it took beatings in places such as Springfield, Smith, Goshen and Green townships.

Only 693 people in Smith voted on the tax issue with 71 percent opposing it. That meant the issue lost by 291 votes in the small township.

“That’s amazing,” county Commissioner David Ditzler said of the Smith results.

In Springfield, 62.5 percent of voters opposed the tax, resulting in a 285-vote defeat.

“In those outlying areas, we got slaughtered,” said county Commissioner Anthony Traficanti.

In Goshen, where only 789 total votes were cast, the tax lost by 211 votes. It lost by 79 votes in Green.

Other rural townships where the tax lost include Beaver by 30 votes, Berlin by 61 votes, Coitsville by 32 votes, Ellsworth by 59 votes, Jackson by 65 votes, and by 63 in Milton. It also lost in the villages of Beloit by 60 votes and Craig Beach by 28 votes.

“Taxpayers are frustrated with government in general, and we have to work harder to get out to the outlying areas,” Traficanti said. Votes against the sales tax in rural areas “probably had to do with potholes, voter dissatisfaction and the pay raises [articles] in [The Vindicator]. There was no clear message about the tax. The voters spoke, and we have to put out a better message.”

Ditzler agreed with Traficanti that potholes in rural areas was a reason the tax failed.

“When we went out to discuss the tax in the outlying areas, all they talked about was the road conditions being so bad,” he said.

Among the suburbs, Austintown and Canfield townships had more no votes than yes on the tax issue.

The tax lost by 153 votes in Austintown, and by 92 in Canfield Township.

Using raw numbers of votes in the county’s 273 precincts, provided by the board of elections, The Vindicator counted them to determine totals in each community.

Leading the way with yes over no votes on the tax was Youngstown, where it won by 470 votes.

The tax won in Campbell by 104 votes, by 103 in Boardman, by 77 votes in Struthers, 68 in the village of Poland, 56 in the city of Canfield, 54 in Poland Township, 39 in Sebring, 8 in Lowellville, 7 in New Middletown, and 4 in Washingtonville.

The results of the Democratic primary for probate court judge between Susan Maruca and Christopher Sammarone was even closer than the county sales tax. Maruca won by only 222 votes — 11,701 to 11,479.

Maruca could thank her former hometown of Campbell, where she emerged with her biggest victory. She received 290 more votes in Campbell than Sammarone.

In nearby Struthers, Maruca won by 185 votes.

In Youngstown, she beat Sammarone by 134 votes.

“I was surprised by Youngstown as the former mayor is well-respected, but I wasn’t shocked as I do a lot of community outreach in the city,” Maruca said.

The “former mayor” she’s referring to is Charles Sammarone, Christopher’s father, who served in that capacity from August 2011 to the end of 2014. He is currently city council president, a position he’s had for several years, and is a former 5th Ward councilman.

The younger Sammarone lives in Canfield Township, but grew up on Youngstown’s West Side in the 5th Ward, went to school there and is a Youngstown State University graduate and a former football standout during his time there.

Sammarone won the 5th Ward by 121 votes and the 4th Ward, which is also on the West Side, by 33 votes. He lost the city’s five other wards.

Maruca’s biggest win in Youngstown was in the 2nd Ward on the city’s East Side, where her father used to operate the Airport Tavern, a restaurant and bar. Maruca won by 109 votes there.

Maruca also won in Austintown by 100 votes, and did well in most rural areas, winning in Beaver, Berlin, Coitsville, Goshen, Milton, Smith and Springfield townships as well as in the villages of Beloit, Craig Beach, Lowellville, New Middletown, Washingtonville and Sebring.

“I’m much more comfortable at a steak fry than at a more affluent event,” she said. “If you look at the numbers from 2008,” she lost the Democratic probate judicial primary that year, “I won a lot of the rural areas.”

Maruca won in the village of Poland by 26 votes, but lost by 7 votes in Poland Township, where she resides.

Sammarone’s biggest victory was in Boardman, which he won by 330 votes, followed by Canfield Township, where he lives, with a 233-vote majority, and then the city of Canfield with a 212-vote win.

He won in Ellsworth by 10 votes, in Jackson by 8 votes, and in Green by 16 votes.


1handymandave(578 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The commisoners believe they've got to get the message of the tax out? I think the people understood exactly what was involved and sent the message back loud and clear.

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2wastepro(59 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The Commissioners really need a reality check here. The wages increases and road conditions were a significant factor in this tax renewal failing. On one hand you raise their co pay on insurance premiums, buy then you give them a increase in their salary/hour wages to offset the health care premium increase. We are not stupid, that wage increase also affects their retirement.

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3NoBS(2758 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The commissioners need to stop "putting our their message" and start listening to their constituents.

Dave, Tony, and Carol, hear this: Start funding the infrastructure BEFORE you fund all the money-wasting feelgood and entitlement programs. We must have roads that are in good condition. We don't need do-nothing Jobs & Family Services, a powerless and gutless Childrens' Services Board, and other programs of that sort. We should provide those services, in an efficient and effective manner, but the main reason the county government came into being was to provide good roads and infrastructure to the county residents. You commissioners have lost your way - you're ignoring the reason the county government was formed.

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4redvert(2238 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Traficanti is down right comical. First he lists the many negatives that caused voters to defeat the tax increase and then states that they need to put out a better message to the voters. In other words they need to do a better job of BS'ing the voters. Nice try!!!

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5Roger_Thornhill(1063 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

They don't need a "better message" they need a better PERFORMANCE of county government.

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6mrblue(1175 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Maybe the voters are tired of paying taxes and not getting a good enough return on their dollars. Potholes in rural regions were the reason the tax failed? How about the entire valley. The roads are terrible. I myself, lost faith in the commissioners a long time ago. They need to go.

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7Chessiedad(374 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

As a long-time resident of Mahoning County, I did not support the sales tax, even though I believe that "sales taxes" are one of the fairer taxing systems because everybody who spends pays it. I refuse to support any tax that funds the WRTA. I have eyes and every time I see one of these buses, outside of the confines of the city of Youngstown, there is never more than one or two riders. Talk about flushing our hard-earned tax dollars down the toilet! If the residents of Youngstown need bus services, tax them for it. Oh, I forgot, most city residents don't pay any taxes.....so tax the rest of us who never use it, to pay for it! Hmmmm....redistribution of wealth scenario?

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8DSquared(1778 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

Tax and spend dems. Getting their losing philosophy from the "Court Jester " in DC !

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9Notorious_Pig(117 comments)posted 2 years, 1 month ago

The bottom line is this: The voters don't know what the benefits of voting FOR or AGAINST the issue(s) on the ballot. There is a very small, tiny effort going to actually let the voters know what is going on. They think "If I vote YES, I pay more." That's it. So, I blame this on the commissioners, who are making way too much money to NOT get things done!

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