Columbiana County sales tax renewal on Nov. 5 ballot
LISBON — Columbiana County commissioners are once again asking voters to renew the 1 percent county sales tax.
The tax, which runs for five years, actually expires at the end of 2020, but commissioners decided to seek its renewal early to give them two more chances should the measure be rejected by voters on Nov. 5.
The 1 percent sales tax was first imposed by commissioners in early 1990s after repeatedly being rejected by voters in the 1980s.
The tax was put on the ballot and approved by voters in 1995 only to be defeated four years later.
A year later, in 2000, voters approved the sales tax and it has been renewed every five years since.
In 2005, commissioners agreed to quit collecting two mills in real estate taxes ($3.5 million in 2019 dollars) in exchange for voters renewing the sales tax that year. Every board of commissioners since has honored that pledge. As a result, the owner of a $100,000 is paying $61 a year less in real estate taxes.
In 2007, commissioners enacted a separate 0.5 percent sales tax that does not expire, bringing the total collected to 1.5 percent.
The two sales taxes remain the single largest source of operating revenue for commissioners, generating a combined $15.7 million last year. This represented 70 percent of the county general fund’s operating budget in 2018. Last year’s sales tax collections represented an $800,000 decline from the record $16.5 million collected in 2017.
County sales taxes in Ohio range from 1 percent to 2.25 percent, because an extra additional 0.5 percent or 1 percent can be sought specifically for public transportation. Commissioners said they have no intention of ever seeking an increase of public transportation.
Fifty of Ohio’s 88 Ohio counties have a 1.5 percent county sales tax.