Commissioners sitting on plate-fee measure

Published: Wed, April 17, 2019 @ 12:05 a.m.

Staff report


Mahoning County commissioners said they’re not considering collecting a new $5 license-plate fee to generate up to $1.5 million for extra road repairs in the county, but it’s still “an option.”

Commissioners hosted their weekly meeting Tuesday evening at the Milton Township Volunteer Fire Department hall and delivered Milton trustees a ceremonial check for $97,753, which is Community Development Block Grant money the township will use for road repairs.

One attendee asked what commissioners planned to do about the license-plate fee proposal, which received mostly positive feedback during a series of public hearings late last year but has been tabled.

Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti said the board is awaiting the release of local government funds clawed back to the state in recent years before deciding on levying an additional tax on residents.

“We felt confident that they will be giving something back but we don’t know what to expect,” she said.

County Engineer Pat Ginnetti has estimated it would cost more than $70 million to bring the county-owned roads back up to standard.

“We’ve got roads in the county that haven’t been touched in decades. ... They’re not getting any better,” he said in November.

Commissioner David Ditzler said he felt the $1.5 million expected from the plate fee wouldn’t be very impactful.

Commissioner Anthony Traficanti said the area’s recent “tsunami” of job losses after closures of Northside Regional Medical Center and the General Motors Lordstown Assembly Complex and its supplier Comprehensive Logistics, as well as Ohio’s recent gas-tax increase caused caution among the commissioners.

“If we did that, it would have looked a little burdensome for taxpayers,” Traficanti added.

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