County sales tax increase proposed, meetings set
The Franklin County Board of Commissioners has scheduled public meetings to discuss a possible hike in the local sales tax.
Commissioners are proposing an increase up to one-quarter or one-half cent on the dollar. Meanwhile, the state's sales tax went up one-quarter of a percentage point, to 5.75 percent, Sept. 1.
In Franklin County the total sales tax on qualifying purchases is currently 7 percent. The county now collects three quarters of a cent on every dollar spent, half of the amount allowed by law.
Hanna Greer, spokeswoman for the commissioners, said the increase is being considered to address growing costs and state cuts to the Local Government Fund and other state support.
"The commissioners want to ensure the county's strong financial position is maintained and provide for the future needs of our growing community," Greer said.
A quarter-cent increase would generate an estimated an additional $48 million annually, she said.
County officials told the Columbus Dispatch part of the money would pay for a $150 million jail and a $50 million morgue.
Greer would not speculate how much of the money would be earmarked for a proposed multimillion dollar facility which would replace the existing Franklin County Veterans Memorial on the Scioto Peninsula.
However, she said there is a possibility commissioners might consider a rollback of the sales tax after a certain number of years. Commisionser are expected to vote on the tax hike by the end of the month so it can go into effect Jan. 1, 2014.
Commissioners last raised the sales tax a half-cent in 2005. In 2007, a quarter-cent rolled off the books.
The meetings are slated for:
* 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Community Room at the Mid Ohio Foodbank, 3960 Brookham Drive, Grove City.
* 9 a.m. Sept. 24 at the government center, 373 S. High St.