The county commissioners’ room was empty Tuesday morning during a scheduled public hearing on a proposed county sales tax levy.
County Administrator Scott Miller said no one from the public attended last week’s hearing on the same matter — a proposed 0.25 percent raise of the county sales tax that would provide additional revenue for the county’s general fund.
The hearings, which are required under state law, are scheduled to allow residents a chance to air concerns or ask questions about the proposed levy.
Miller said the hearings were scheduled this spring because the county believed at the time that the sales tax levy would appear on November’s ballot.
County commissioners agreed at a recent meeting to push the levy back, partially because of concerns that the political climate of the fall presidential election would hurt the levy’s chances.
Miller said the spring 2017 ballot is the earliest the issue is expected to go to a public vote. The county plans to hold more public hearings on the levy in late 2016 or early 2017, he added.
He said past hearings for other levies — such as the social services levy that voters rejected on the spring 2015 ballot — drew more public participation.
A 0.25 percent increase to Medina County’s sales tax would bring the total sales tax in the county to 7 percent. One percent of the county’s 6.75 percent sales tax funds county services. The 1 percent includes the 0.5 percent sales tax, which voters passed 10 years ago, to fund capital improvements for county schools, such as construction, buses and textbooks.
The county also receives almost $33 million annually from levies totaling 8.04 mills. However, only $10.6 million of this sum goes toward the county's general fund. The remaining money generated from levies goes directly to county services including the Medina County Drug Abuse Commission, the county home, and the Achievement Center.