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Road tax levy ahead in Mahoning County

Voters to decide fate of sales tax increase, 23 other issues

Construction foreman Peter Miketa of Howland, moves gravel as construction continues on culvert work along Tippecanoe Rd. in Canfield on Wednesday. ...Staff photo by R. Michael Semple

Twenty-four tax issues and four proposed questions are on the ballot in Mahoning County, including a proposed increase in the countywide sales tax.

The 0.25 percent county sales tax increase for five years would raise about $9 million annually to pave more roads and improve additional bridges, county officials said.

If approved, Mahoning would have one of the five highest sales taxes among the state’s 88 counties at 7.5 percent. Of that 7.5 percent, 5.75 goes to the state.

County commissioners have said the tax would not be renewed after the five years end.

County Engineer Pat Ginnetti said he hopes the commissioners change that decision when they see the results from the sales tax.

“If it was my call, it would be longer,” he said. “If it passes and people see what we can do with the money, it will be a difficult decision for the commissioners to pull it, but it’s not my call.”

The engineer’s office’s budget is about $11 million annually with all of it coming from gas taxes and license-plate fees, Ginnetti said.

The budget has been “stagnant” for a couple of decades, he said. It was $10.6 million in 1999, he said.

“With the cost of everything increasing and no growth in our budget, we’re doing less and less every year,” Ginnetti said.

Also, if the county gets federal funding for roads and bridges, it has to come up with a 20 percent match, which is a struggle, he said.

About 35 to 40 percent of the county’s sales tax is paid by those who live outside Mahoning County, Ginnetti said.

Of the $9 million to be generated from the tax, if passed, $4 million would go to county roads, $4 million to township roads and $1 million to county-owned infrastructure, primarily bridges, in cities and villages, he said. The county isn’t permitted to pave roads in cities and villages, Ginnetti said.

The other countywide tax is a 2-mill, five-year renewal for the operations of the board of developmental disabilities.

Of the 22 local tax issues (not including the two countywide), all but seven are renewals.

The five additional levies include two in the village of Lowellville — one each for police and fire — as well as its school district for general permanent improvements. There’s also one each in the village of Sebring for parks and recreation and in Milton Township for the fire department.

Two replacement levies are on the ballot, both in Springfield Township. One is for fire services, and the other is for current expenses.

There are also questions in front of voters in the cities of Canfield and Struthers. Canfield voters will decide on three charter amendments and a police levy renewal.

Struthers voters will decide a question on terms of office.

“People are concerned about new taxes that increase their property taxes, but not really for renewals,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections. “The biggest one on the ballot is the county sales tax for roads and bridges, but people are positive about that because they want their roads fixed. People aren’t upset about that.”

Kale-Pesta said the tax levies “are pocketbook issues that drive the voters as they want police, fire and roads. People don’t see renewals as a problem because they’re already paying those taxes. Renewals usually pass. People are more concerned about additional levies for property taxes, especially the elderly who don’t have kids in schools and are on fixed incomes.”

Below are all of the issues on ballot in Mahoning County:

MAHONING COUNTY: A 0.25 percent, five-year sales and use tax for the repair and maintenance of roads and other infrastructure.

MAHONING COUNTY: A 2-mill, five-year renewal levy for the board of developmental disabilities.

AUSTINTOWN: A 1.5-mill, five-year renewal levy for roads and bridges.

AUSTINTOWN: A 0.5-mill, five-year renewal levy for senior citizen services.

BOARDMAN A 3-mill, five-year renewal levy for current expenses.

CAMPBELL: A 3-mill, five-year renewal levy for police and fire.

CAMPBELL: A 3-mill, five-year renewal levy for street resurfacing.

CANFIELD CITY: Charter amendment to change term limits for council members and mayors to no more than four consecutive two-year terms.

CANFIELD CITY: Charter amendment to allow voters to remove the city manager through a recall vote.

CANFIELD CITY: Charter amendment to prohibit city managerial employees from using city funds or resources toward political efforts.

CANFIELD CITY: A 3.9-mill, five-year renewal levy for police.

CARDINAL FIRE DISTRICT: A 0.42-mill, five-year renewal levy for operating expenses.

GREEN: A 1.5-mill, five-year renewal for current expenses.

LOWELLVILLE: An 8.4-mill, five-year additional levy for police.

LOWELLVILLE: A 3.4-mill, five-year additional levy for fire services.

MILTON: A 2-mill continuous additional levy for fire services.

POLAND TOWNSHIP: A 2-mill, five-year renewal levy for current expenses.

POLAND VILLAGE: A 1-mill, five-year renewal levy for police.

SEBRING: A 3-mill, five-year renewal levy for fire services.

SEBRING: A 1-mill, five-year renewal levy for recreational services.

SEBRING: A 2-mill, five-year additional levy for parks and recreation.

SPRINGFIELD: A 1.5-mill, five-year replacement levy for fire.

SPRINGFIELD: A 1.5-mill, five-year replacement levy for current expenses.

STRUTHERS: Shall the terms of office be changed from two years to four years.

LOWELLVILLE SCHOOLS: A 4-mill, five-year additional levy for general permanent improvements.

POLAND SCHOOLS: A 4.9-mill, five-year renewal levy for emergency requirements.

POLAND SCHOOLS: A 1-mill, five-year renewal levy for permanent improvements.

WESTERN RESERVE SCHOOLS: A 2.96-mill, 10-year renewal levy to avoid an operating deficit.

dskolnick@vindy.com

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