MANSFIELD -- Richland County commissioners voted Tuesday to maintain the same percentage of  "excessive sales tax" it shares with cities, villages and townships in 2022.

Commissioners, who had twice in recent years reduced the amount they share, cautioned the county's 27 political subdivisions it may reconsider the amount shared for 2023.

In 1989, 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.

The "excess amount" the county will share in 2022 is an additional $582,109, commissioners said, adding that Washington County is the only other of the state's 88 counties sharing "excess" sales tax revenue.

"It''s the age-old debate as to what is the definition of excess," Commissioner Tony Vero said. "We have taken the approach that when it comes to budgeting, we look at the big picture."

He said that means if commissioners, during the annual budgeting process, ask county departments to reduce spending that it would be "inequitable" not to reduce the amount of "excess" revenues it shares with cities, villages and townships in the county.

"Coming out of COVID, it would be nice to cities, townships and villages not to (reduce the amount)," Vero said.

Commissioner Darrell Banks agreed.

"They are hurting coming out of COVID, so I would agree to not make any changes (in 2022). But we are giving fair warning that we will look at it closely next year," Banks said.

Also on Tuesday, commissioners asked Joe Trolian, executive director of Richland Mental Health & Recovery Services, to delay seeking the appointment of Mansfield attorney Jeff Heck to the organization's 14-member board.

Commissioners said they were not comfortable approving the appointment while Heck is representing an entity currently suing the county and the commissioners. They said it could be considered a conflict of interest.

"I would like Jeff to be on the board at some point," Vero said. "I would like to have him come onto the board when he doesn't have litigation ongoing against the board of commissioners."

Trolian said he would speak with Heck and explain commissioners' concerns.

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"

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