News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Wayside Furniture

Northeast Ohio Medical University

Akron General


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Government and Politics


Summit County gets public input on sales tax hike idea
First of two public hearings on the quarter of a percent increase brings out supporters, no opponents
by WKSU's TIM RUDELL


Reporter
Tim Rudell
 
Summit County Council is considering whether to put a one-quarter-percent sales tax increase on this fall’s ballot, generating about $20 million a year for a unique combination of causes: to build a new arena and to upgrade the county jail and safety services.
Courtesy of wksu
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:
Corrections: The name of Summit County Council's finance chairman is Jerry Feeman and the correct spelling of the name of one of the speakers at the hearing is the Rev. Melford Elliott. 

A sale tax increase for Summit County might or might not be on the ballot this November. Monday night, County Council held the first of two public hearings to discuss the idea, and take the temperature of voters. WKSU’s Tim Rudell reports.
Click to listen

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:19)


Summit Council Finance Committee Chairman Jerry Feeman ended the two-hour session with no opposition presented to County Executive Russ Pry’s request for a quarter of a percent sales tax hike to be put before voters this fall.

Two-thirds of the estimated $20 million a year the tax would generate would shore up budgets of the sheriff’s department, including the jail, and to pay for new dispatch radio and 911 systems. Sheriff Steve Barry  says budget and staff cuts have his department down to manpower levels that are unsafe, especially at the jail.   

“For the 642 inmates during the shift last night, we a total of approximately 20 personnel in the jail. It is unsafe and it needs to be changed.”

All those in favor

Though no one rose to speak against the sales tax idea, a dozen and a half spoke in favor of it. And many focused on the jail and safety.

The Rev. Melford Elliot of Akron cautioned, "Just by chance, your son or daughter gets put in custody. Be a good kid, but because of the condition of the jail something horrific could take place. Now I know that for certain because I’ve been down there. And the atmosphere is very thick. I say we need to do what needs to be done.”'

Communications issues
Others who spoke pointed to critical communications issues and the need for the new $15 to $30 million communications system. But, only two-thirds of the money that would be raised by the tax would address such things. About $7 million a year from the tax hike would fund a new $80 million downtown arena.
 
Blending of two disparate purposes for a single tax
“People said, why don’t you split this into two different ballot issues? The problem is, under state law you can’t do that," said County Executive Russ Pry. "The minimum amount that you can go for is a quarter of a percent. And so that’s when we looked at it.  We identified the public safety needs, with the capital costs. And we got to where we are at we knew there would be additional funds.”
 
About $7 million a year as it happens, and that is what the county administration wants to use for the arena, to be built across from Canal Park to create an even more robust sport and entertainment area in downtown Akron.

State and federal cuts

Akron resident Joe Bailey told the council that cities and counties are now pretty much on their own when it comes to funding -- whether it's for safety forces or economic development. Federal and state budget cuts make that a reality. 
“You saw the cuts the state has made. You know, local government is where the rubber hits the road. And everything has been pushed back to the local government. If you’re the governor, the president, or congress, you can have rose garden ceremonies, and pass bills, and you can do wonderful things. But we know where the buck stops. That’s what’s happening here…and we all know it.”  

The tax increase, if passed would add about a nickel to a $20 purchase in Summit County. It would also raise the overall sales tax to 7 percent, still among the lowest among Ohio counties.  


Related WKSU Stories

A new sports and entertainment venue could be coming to downtown Akron
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Summit County sheriff supports a sales tax hike to fund jail improvements and a sports arena
Thursday, April 24, 2014

Summit County will ask voters to OK a sales tax hike to build an arena
Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

An amendment to an Ohio agriculture bill may kill whole bill
I hope the Gov. sticks to his veto, Att takes more out of this state than it puts in.

From warehouse to writer: Terry Pluto's Thanksgiving thank you
Dear Terry: On my 8th cup of coffee trying to get Thanksgiving "Brunch" done ahead of time because I work nights. However, I just had to stop to contact yo...

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University