Mahoning County Commissioners consider .25% sales tax to pave roads
Mahoning county commissioners are considering a sales tax increase to help pave roads and repair bridges throughout the 14 townships in the county.
Commissioners say the proposed quarter percent increase would enable the county to pave a majority of the roads within five years.
"The people who use the roads are going to be helping us pay for the roads even though they don't live in our townships," said Austintown Trustee, Ken Carano.
That's the idea behind the quarter percent sales tax. County officials say property taxes and the current county sales tax just don't provide the funding necessary to maintain the roads.
"All 88 counties are funded through gas tax and license plates and the gas tax has been relatively stagnant over the years with the inception of electric vehicles," said County Engineer, Pat Ginetti.
Ginetti says a pavement condition study performed 8 years ago showed two thirds of all the roads in the county received D's and F's on the grading scale. Some roads have not been paved in over 40 years.
He says his paving budget has been the same for years all while the costs of materials have skyrocketed.
So why aren't county officials waiting for the federal money from the American rescue plan to help out? That money can't be used for road resurfacing. And what about talk of an infrastructure bill?
"I don't think any infrastructure bill is going to give any shot in the arm to the tune of $40-$50 million in order to put in the roads. The longer we wait the worse the conditions and the more costly the repairs are," said Mahoning County Commissioner, David Ditzler.
Commissioners plan to have two public hearings about the proposed .25% sales tax increase that would bring in roughly $8 million a year.
They would then vote to put it on the November ballot.