MEIGS COUNTY — A half-percent sales tax increase approved by the Meigs County Commissioners will go into effect on Monday.
The increase was approved by a unanimous vote on June 7 during a regular meeting of the commissioners by an emergency resolution.
The resolution read, “there are not sufficient funds available to operate Meigs County’s government and that the additional money is needed for the health, welfare and safety of the citizens of the county.” It was emphasized by Tom Anderson, president, that “a financial emergency exists, and the increase in sales and use tax is absolutely necessary.”
Sales tax in the county will now be 7 percent instead of 6.5 percent, meaning that the county will now received 1.5 cents for each dollar of taxable items purchased in the county. The remaining 5.5 percent goes directly to the state.
The half percent increase is the first increase in sales tax since February 1987, although it had been discussed on numerous occasions with no action taken. A half-percent increase did appear on the ballot in 2002, with the money to be earmarked for the Sheriff’s Office. The increase was voted down.
It is estimated (from the 2011 sales tax figures) that the increase in sales tax wold generate $687,000 annually for the county. In 2011, a total of $1,374,024.22 was received by the county from the collection of sales tax.
The increase to a seven-percent sales tax makes Meigs County equal with Vinton, Jackson, Washington and Lawrence counties. Athens and Gallia counties both have a 6.75-percent sales tax.
Cuyahoga County has the state’s highest sales tax at 7.75 percent, while Lorain, Butler, Stark and Wayne counties are the lowest in the state at 6.25 percent.
Forty-seven other counties currently have a seven-percent sales tax, making it the most common tax rate in the state.
Two public hearings were held prior to the passage of the resolution in support of the increase.
During the meetings held in May, local residents and business owners were given the chance to ask questions about the then proposed increase and hear from the commissioners about the need for the increase.
Commissioner Tim Ihle explained that the Commissioners have looked at every way possible to cut the budget, and everything that could be cut has been.
While the county is just getting by paying its bills, there is no money left to repair or maintain the infrastructure in the county.
In addition to the increase in sales tax, an increase of the conveyance fee was also approved by the commissioners. The conveyance fee increase took effect in July.
The main sources of income for the county are user fees, sales tax, and real estate taxes. The commissioners approved an increase in conveyance fees (one type of user fee) and sales tax, thereby not placing all of the cost on property owners, but spreading it more evenly. Sales tax is paid by everyone who shops in the county, not just those who reside here, while conveyance fees are paid on the sale of property from one party to another.