MEDINA — Medina County will need to find another way to beef up its coffers to meet financial needs.
Voters soundly defeated the 0.2 percent sales tax increase on Tuesday’s ballot 18,518 votes to 10,461, according to unofficial results from the Medina County Board of Elections.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed it didn’t pass,” Medina County Commissioner Bill Hutson said when reached by phone late Tuesday. “But we need to find a way to support our” criminal and justice services and other areas.
Asked whether the county would try again to pass a sales tax increase, Hutson replied: “We have actually passed a resolution to put it on in August.”
He said commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday to place a similar sales tax request on the Aug. 7 special election ballot. The deadline to file is today.
“Given where we are with tonight’s results, however, whether we’ll go forward in August or November” remains to be determined, he said.
He said there also has been some discussion about putting a human services levy on the ballot should a sales tax increase fail.
If approved, the sales tax would have risen from 6.75 percent to 6.95 percent and generated an estimated $5.3 million a year for criminal and administrative justice services, thus freeing up money for other county needs, including maintenance of buildings, a growing senior population, children’s services and the county Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board.
Children’s services and mental health agencies are experiencing increased costs because of the opioid epidemic, county Administrator Scott Miller previously said.
“I think the sales tax is a big bang for the buck,” he said.
Miller said it would cost $23 million to fix everything on a list the maintenance department compiled for improvements to county buildings.
“That’s not realistic,” he said. “But we can at least put a dent in it.”
Without a sales tax hike, agencies like the Medina County Office for Older Adults, Medina County Children’s Services and ADAMH board will need to request a property tax levy to meet rising needs, Miller has said, noting nearby counties already have levies that pay for those services.