Shaking his head that only three residents showed up for Monday morning’s public hearing, Mahoning County Sheriff Jerry Greene says an upcoming sales tax levy can’t be taken for granted.
“The way this criminal justice tax is now set up, it puts us in an all-or-nothing situation,” Greene said.
Of the one-and-a-quarter percent sales tax the county collects, three-quarters of a penny on every dollar in sales goes to fund just four departments: the Sheriff, Coroner, Prosecutor and 911 dispatching.
The renewal issue generates $25 million a year, the lion’s share going to the sheriff’s office.
“If you told me tomorrow that I had no money, or that I had half the amount of money, I wouldnt even begin to try to explain how to dismantle my agency,” Greene said.
Although the sheriff’s budget itself is larger than for all of Columbiana County government, Greene says he and his staff have been able to obtain grants and contracts with other agencies to bring in additional revenue. One of those deals is to hold prisoners for the US Marshal Service.
“In 2018, which was last year, we made 1.4 million. This all affects what the taxpayer has to pay,” Greene said.
Of those who attended the meeting not working for the county, leaders with the Carpenter’s union say a stable criminal justice system creates its own positive ripple effect.
“Makes it more attractive for other businesses to come in. When those businesses come in, our members are building them. They’re shopping at them. They’re using their facilities,” said Tony Ditommaso, of the Carpenter’s union.
Commissioners will hold another hearing Thursday night at the Boardman Government Center.