MEDINA — Medina County Administrator Scott Miller said passage of the 0.2 percent sales tax on the May 8 primary ballot would help the county fund criminal and administrative justice services and free up money for other pressing needs.
If it passes, judging by last year’s figures, it would generate an estimated $5.3 million a year, he said.
“I think the sales tax is a big bang for the buck,” Miller said. “This is going to help the county.”
He said the sales tax would cost an additional $2 for someone who spends $1,000.
“It’s a minimum amount of money,” Miller said. “My concern is that people don’t know about it.”
If approved, the county’s sales tax would rise from 6.75 percent to 6.95 percent.
He said revenue generated would be used for the sheriff’s office and county jail, courts and offices of coroner, prosecutor, public defender and adult probation.
If it passes, it would free up money in the county’s general fund for other purposes, such as maintenance of buildings, increased funding for the growing senior population, children’s services and the Medina County Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Board.
Children’s services and mental health agencies are experiencing increased costs because of the opioid epidemic, Miller said.
Also, if the tax passes, more money can be devoted to capital improvements. Miller said the maintenance department recently compiled suggestions for improvements to county buildings. He said it would cost $23 million to fix everything on the list.
“That’s not realistic,” he said. “But we can at least put a dent in it.”
If it doesn’t pass, Miller said the county most likely will put it back on the ballot, possibly in the November general election.
Without the 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. He said nearby counties already have levies that pay for those services.
“If citizens don’t want a sales tax, that’s OK,” Miller said. “I’m not big on taxes. I’m fiscally conservative. I’m a small-government type of guy. But we really need to do this.”
Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or email@example.com.