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Government and Politics

Summit County changes course and dumps arena from sales tax plans
Voters say county safety and an Akron arena didn't belong in the same tax measure

Summit County Executive Russ Pry announced the change of course this afternoon.
Courtesy of File photo, Tim Rudell
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In a major reversal, Summit County is likely to eliminate a new sports arena from a proposed sales tax hike on the November ballot. And in another change announced this afternoon, the proposed hike would run for just 10 years, instead of being permanent. 

The county wants to boost the tax by 0.25 percent to raise an extra $20 million a year. Most of the money would go toward 9-1-1 emergency dispatch, jail upgrades, pay hikes and similar projects. But the county had also planned to use it to build a downtown basketball arena used by the University of Akron. Voters like Renee Martin of Portage Lakes say the blending never made sense.

LISTEN: Reaction to arena change

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“I’m actually glad they’re taking if off the ballot. I don’t think that the 911 system and the arena should be on the same tax ballot because they’re too totally different things. People might vote (it) down because the arena’s on there. So that would affect the 911, which is truly something that we need.” 

County council still must approve the decision Monday. In a statement, the University of Akron says it understands the change and will look for other ways to work with the county and Akron on economic development.

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