Richland County commissioners 080619

Richland County commissioners Tony Vero, Marilyn John and Darrell Banks discuss a reduction in the amount of "excessive" sales tax the county will share with cities, villages and townships in 2020.

MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners voted Tuesday to reduce by 1 percent the amount of "excessive sales tax" it shares with cities, villages and townships in 2020.

The percentage represents about $18,000, according to Commissioner Tony Vero. It's the second straight year commissioners have reduced sharing by 1 percent.

In 1989, Richland County commissioners put a sales tax increase on the ballot, agreeing to share some of that revenue with other political subdivisions in the county in exchange for their support of the issue.

The amount shared with each governmental entity depends on the amount of road mileage in each city, village and township -- at the rate of about $1,500 per mile. Based upon that, the county contractually shares about $1.4 million annually.

At that time, commissioners also agreed to share additional funds if the county received "excess sales tax" proceeds. This year, the county is sharing just over $600,000, which is $21,000 less than it shared in 2018.

"The total amount we will share with the 27 subdivisions for 2020 will be $2,019,329.03," Vero said.

Commissioners said Richland County is one of only two of the state's 88 counties to share sales tax proceeds in this way.

At this point in the budgeting process, based upon projected revenues, commissioners are going to have to trim about 8 percent from departmental budget requests for 2020.

Commissioners are also expecting an increase of $250,000 to $400,000 in employee insurance costs, a figure which won't be firmed up until September.

"I have a hard time asking our departments to cut their budgets and not ... we have to be fair," Vero said. "It's less than last year."

Commissioner Marilyn John said county departments serve all of Richland County and that department cuts would also impact the services provided to city, village and township residents.

In other action on Tuesday, commissioners:

-- approved the renewal of a lease with the local arm of the Community Action Commission of Erie, Huron & Richland Counties, Inc., in the Peoples Community Center, 597 Park Ave. East in Mansfield. The Community Action Commission leases 2,166 square feet for $1,489 per month or $17,869 annually.

-- met with Richland County Dog Warden Dane Howard and office staff member Chelsea Burns to discuss the upcoming initial Aug. 27 visit of the RASCAL Unit Neutermobile through the non-profit Mid-Ohio Animal Welfare League. Commissioners last week approved a resolution making the county a mandatory spay/neuter county when it comes to adopting dogs through the dog warden's office and shelter. Howard said the shelter will spay/neuter 30 dogs on Aug. 27.

-- approved a resolution to hire Sekel Group Architects to design a security vestibule for the Richland County Juvenile Court. The firm previously hired for the work will not be able to complete the task, commissioners said.

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