Warren County: New year, new sales tax rate to help pay for new jail

Published: Tuesday, January 02, 2018 @ 12:55 PM


            Warren County shoppers will pay an aditional 0.25 percent in sales tax this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF
Warren County shoppers will pay an aditional 0.25 percent in sales tax this year. NICK GRAHAM/STAFF

Warren County’s sale tax increased 0.25 percent, effective Jan. 1, bringing the overall rate to 7 percent.

The increase was approved last year by the Warren County Board of Commissioners to help pay off debt on a new county jail within five years, rather than pay the cost of financing the debt over a longer period.

RELATED: Tea party watching Warren County sales tax increase for jail

“This nominal sales tax increase sets Warren County’s sales tax rate to match the border counties of Hamilton and Preble as well as the adjacent regional shopping district in Butler County known as Liberty Center, and is still lower than the 7.25 percent rate in Montgomery County,” according to a press release issued in July when the commissioners approved the tax increase.

MORE: Ohio county sales tax rates

Montgomery County’s rate includes 5.75 percent in state sales tax, a 1 percent county tax and 0.5 percent for the Greater Dayton Transit Authority.

Warren County expects to raise $10 million a year through the 0.25 percent increase.

EARLIER:Warren County seeks sales tax increase to pay for jail

“With this in mind, the Board also approved a 1.5-mill property tax reduction in the levy collected for the Warren County Board of Developmental Disabilities with the intention of maintaining the rollback through the duration of the sales tax increase used to pay for the jail financing,” according to the July press release issued to announce the tax hike.

On Tuesday, Warren County was still finalizing a contract with the architect and the selection process for the construction manager for the jail project.

EARLIER: Warren County weighs tax hikes to pay for new jail

“Hopefully, we’ll have things a lot more locked up by the end of the month or shortly thereafter,” Deputy Administrator Martin Russell said.

Shoppers are already paying the higher rate, but revenues from the sales-tax increase aren’t expected to show up until later this year.

“The sales tax comes in about three months in arrears,” Russell said.

Russell said he calculated that the 7 percent was in place when he made a purchase at the Premium Outlets Mall in Monroe on Monday.

The Ohio Department of Taxation notified vendors of the increase in November, according to Gary Gudmundson, spokesman for the department.

“That gives them time to make the adjustments to their equipment, their systems,” Gudmundson said.

Consumers might not notice the increase.

“Some people are certainly more interested and aware of the sales tax than others,” Gudmundson said. “Eventually, it’s just part of the cost of doing business.”

Trending - Most Read Stories

Mike DeWine ice cream social brings out nearly all of GOP slate

Published: Sunday, June 24, 2018 @ 7:22 PM


            U.S. Sen. Rob Portman speaks Sunday, June 24, at the Cedarville home of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine at the annual ice cream social Dewine and his wife Fran host.
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman speaks Sunday, June 24, at the Cedarville home of Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine at the annual ice cream social Dewine and his wife Fran host.

Hundreds of Republican supporters spent an afternoon Sunday listening to optimistic speeches at the annual Ice Cream Social that Ohio Attorney General Mike Dewine and his wife Fran hosted at their home near Cedarville.

DeWine’s event brought nearly all the Ohio GOP statewide candidates; Senate candidate U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, did not attend because he had a conflict, organizers said.

DeWine told the hundreds in attendance that he was smart to ask Secretary of State Jon Husted to become his running-mate during the Republican primary, leaving him to face just the withering fire from the primary campaign of Ohio Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor. GOP voters selected DeWine over Taylor, and he and Democratic candidate Richard Cordray face each other in November.

“The politics of (joining with Husted) make a lot of sense, he said. “I don’t think I have to explain that to anybody. Instead of a bruising, horrible primary, the two of us were together — and we still had a bruising, horrible primary.”

MORE: Pharmacy middlemen made $223.7M from Ohio Medicaid

A common theme among candidates who spoke Sunday was the fight against the opioid epidemic. Ohio Rep. Robert Sprague, R-Findlay, the GOP candidate for secretary of state, said DeWine was the right candidate to lead the fight against opioid addiction.

“We have become ground zero for the opioid epidemic,” Sprague said. “Mike DeWine is going to make us ground zero for the solution.”

DeWine’s campaign calls for a 12-step “Recovery Ohio” plan that would implement early drug prevention education in Ohio schools, expand efforts to reduce drug and cash flows from cartels and increase drug addiction treatment programs.

“We will make a difference every day,” DeWine said.

MORE: Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ tweet about restaurant eviction violates law, ex-ethics chief says

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, whose seat is not up for election, rallied the crowd to be active this campaign season.

“The pundits may be wrong; the blue wave might not come to Ohio,” Portman said. “The only blue wave coming here is going to be a blue wave of those blue DeWine t-shirts.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report

Trending - Most Read Stories

Warren County seeks options for fairgrounds project funding

Published: Saturday, June 23, 2018 @ 12:00 AM

This is an earlier aerial rendering of the Warren County Event Center, when it was to cover 18,000 square feet near the entrance to the county fairgrounds in Lebanon. Although reduced in size to 16,000 feet, the project has been stalled by high costs.
This is an earlier aerial rendering of the Warren County Event Center, when it was to cover 18,000 square feet near the entrance to the county fairgrounds in Lebanon. Although reduced in size to 16,000 feet, the project has been stalled by high costs.

Warren County officials are seeking options for financing a project to build an event center at the county fairgrounds, including possibly partnering with the City of Lebanon or turning to the county’s port authority.

Lebanon Mayor Amy Brewer said the city government was ready to consider collaborating with the county on redevelopment of the fairgrounds, located just north of the city’s downtown center.

“That’s something we as a city can take a look at,” Brewer said last week.

Previously, the city and county had disagreed about how to spend $3 million set aside for redevelopment of the fairgrounds and vicinity after the Lebanon Raceway’s operations moved off the fairgrounds to the Miami Valley Gaming racino.

In 2014, the disagreement prompted state officials to mediate an agreement, which said that the city and county would each get half of the money. A committee of members from the two governments, chaired by the city, would review projects submitted to spend those funds.

RELATED: State changes redevelopment rules in Lebanon, Warren County flap

Last week, Warren County commissioners approved Lebanon to spend the rest of its funds from that agreement on design of a downtown entertainment district.

At the same meeting, commissioners urged staff to encourage the city to help the county make up a deficit on a $3.8 million event center project at the fairgrounds.

“We should be collaborating on the redevelopment of the fairgrounds,” Commissioner Dave Young said at last Tuesday’s commission meeting.

Young pointed out the project should bring earnings taxes, as well as visitors, to Lebanon.

Commissioner Tom Grossmann noted the city used almost $900,000 of its $1.5 million in redevelopment funds on a private project, the $9.3 million LCNB bank building south of the fairgrounds on the edge of downtown Lebanon.

MORE: Construction starts on new LCNB bank

None of the city money went toward projects on the fairgrounds.

RELATED: Bank project receiving over half Lebanon’s share of state funds

“We have a need,” Grossmann said.

Commissioner Shannon Jones was a state senator involved in settling the dispute in 2014. At Tuesday’s meeting, she urged Young not to “re-litigate” the dispute and emphasized that the state left it up to Lebanon how it spent the money, provided it was for something within 1.5 miles of the fairgrounds.

She joined Young and Grossmann in pursuing a partnership with the city.

“I hope Lebanon will come to the table,” she said.

RELATED: Lebanon seeks $400,000 from state for entertainment district

MORE: State gives $500k for Warren County Drug Task Force building

The event center project is over budget in large part because of required improvements to the water system and stormwater management at the fairgrounds.

While not willing to set aside other plans for the redevelopment funds, Deputy Administrator Martin Russell told the commission that Lebanon City Manager Scott Brunka had also indicated willingness to discuss “other opportunities.”

Gene Steiner, president of the Warren County Agricultural Society, said last week that the county and fair board were still considering options such as looking to the city for financial assistance or turning the project over to the port authority.

The agricultural society — known as the fair board — operates the fairgrounds and puts on the annual fair in July.

A port authority intervention could result in the event center being owned by the port authority and leased to the fair board, avoiding sales tax on building materials.

RELATED:Event center, court projects stalled over construction costs, funding shortage

“From what we know, I have no reservations with that whatsoever,” Steiner said. “We’re still investigating the best opportunity for the project.”

Costs in a port authority-run project would also be decreased by avoiding prevailing wage laws required on public projects.

Steiner said a city-county collaboration on the fairgrounds would be “mutually beneficial.” They could cross-promote and share advertising on days both were staging festivities, he said.

“The more there is to do in an area, the more people we can bring in,” Steiner said.

The Lebanon mayor left open the door for discussion, perhaps involving the city providing in-kind services to help cut costs of the fairgrounds makeover.

“There’s always room for discussion,” she said.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Warren County forum to focus on ways to fight opioid epidemic

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 4:47 PM


            Warren County is holding a public forum on the opioid crisis on Tuesday, July 17 at the county career center. Pictured is a Your Voice Ohio forum at the MidPointe Public Library in Middletown. Your Voice Ohio is a collaborative of 30 media organizations across the state including this news organization. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Warren County is holding a public forum on the opioid crisis on Tuesday, July 17 at the county career center. Pictured is a Your Voice Ohio forum at the MidPointe Public Library in Middletown. Your Voice Ohio is a collaborative of 30 media organizations across the state including this news organization. ED RICHTER/STAFF

Warren County is taking another step in efforts to combat the effects of the opioid epidemic on the community.

RELATED: Warren County applies for grant studying first responses to overdose cases

County commissioners will host a community forum on Tuesday, July 17, to discuss a recent study conducted by the Addiction Policy Forum on the opioid crisis in Warren County.

The Addiction Policy Forum recommended 21 steps to better respond to the epidemic and its effects on families, as well as drug addicts themselves, in Warren County.

MORE: Ohioans offer solutions to opioid crisis

The recommendations include convening a community coalition on substance-use disorder, launching a public awareness campaign and expanding resources to support those suffering from the disorder and their families and caregivers.

The forum is to begin at 6:30 p.m. at the Warren County Career Center, 3525 N. Ohio 48, north of Lebanon, in Clearcreek Twp.

MORE: Wilmington forum on opioid crisis

The Addiction Policy Forum is affiliated with the U.S. Justice Department. It recently completed an analysis of the existing county network responding to opioid issues, including overdoses, in the county.

Leaders in health, social services, treatment, recovery services, education, business and first responders are to participate in the forum.

For more information, call 513-695-1250 or email sherri.carbo@co.warren.oh.us.

Trending - Most Read Stories

Miami County moves to add $5 license plate tax for roads

Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2018 @ 10:28 AM


            A license plate example from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. CONTRIBUTED
A license plate example from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles. CONTRIBUTED

TROY – Miami County commissioners heard no opposition during a public hearing on a proposed $5 supplemental license tax to generate more money for county road maintenance.

The additional tax was authorized by the state legislature in counties where commissioners approve its implementation. Most of the state’s largest counties have OK’d the supplemental tax including Montgomery County.

Miami County Engineer Paul Huelskamp explained the proposal Tuesday during the first of two public hearings. The second is scheduled for Tuesday, June 26, at 9:10 a.m.

MORE: Warren County drivers to pay $5 more for vehicle registration

Huelskamp said the county paved 24.04 miles in 2017. He noted, however, the industry standard for repaving is every 10 years. To meet that standard, the county would need to pave about 42.35 miles per year.

Huelskamp said the added money would help the county get to a 15-year cycle. The county is responsible for 424 miles of road.

The $5 supplemental tax would generate an estimated $552,000 to $649,000 more a year. That would allow for seven to nine more miles of paving annually, Huelskamp said.

TRENDING: Doughnuts, ice cream, candy: 5 Miamisburg spots for your sweet tooth

County Commissioner Greg Simmons said he has had several people call him complaining about the condition of county roads in the 18 months since he joined the commission.

“I have had one call about the license plate tax. It seems to me more people favor getting more done,” he said.

If the commission approved the supplemental tax by the end of July, it would go into effect in 2019.

Trending - Most Read Stories