Montgomery County considers tax to hike to ease budget woes

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Montgomery County officials are proposing a sales tax increase to generate more revenue for the county.

Commissioners say an increase from 1 percent to 1.25 percent will help offset a budget shortfall for 2019.

According to county administrator Joseph Tuss, the tax increase would generate nearly $19 million annually for the county.

Tina Ratcliff, from Montgomery County Record Center and Archives, was joined by two other officials proposing the increase.

Clerk of Courts Russ Joseph says the increase is important for the future of the county.

“Over the past ten years my office has seen a 20 percent reduction in staffing while still being able to implement our e-filing services and legal division,” Joseph said. “We would not be able to deliver the same levels of service the citizens of Montgomery County are accustomed to if we’re forced to go through a round of layoffs.”

The new revenue would provide more resources to four groups according to county officials; the community, people, criminal justice and government infrastructure.

Officials say arts and culture, bail reform, government building improvements and preschool promise would benefit directly from the revenue generated by the increase.

Lisa Babb of 4C for Children advocated for the increase, saying if the preschool promise locations do not expand and receive proper ranking by 2020, they will be forced to close.

” Every year we go back and we look at what we could be doing better, what could we change, what could we tweak to better educate and do more with the tax dollars that are being given,” Babb said.

Commissioners heard public input on the sales tax proposal at a meeting Tuesday night. Some say the increase would hurt specific groups of people in the community.

“Montgomery County is already one of the highest taxed counties in the state by the time we finish paying for Health and Human Services’ two levies, Sinclair’s two levies, MetroParks levy, the Library levy, school levies,” Montgomery County resident David Esrati said.

The commission will hold a final public hearing, next Tuesday, June 26 at 1:30 p.m. at the County Commission chambers.

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