PDT Staff Writer
On Monday night, the Portsmouth/Scioto County League of Women Voters held their annual Meet the Candidates night. During the event Scioto County Commissioner candidates were asked if they would support a reduction, an increase or maintain the county sales tax rate.
Donnie Rachford was the first to respond.
“Sine I’m not a county commissioner right now, in order to answer this question I would have to do some studying and find out what our (Scioto County) money situation is,” Rachford said. “When I get into office, my goal would be to do what’s right for Scioto County and its residents. If it would help people out to redo our taxes, then we will do that. To speculate on what I would do right now, I could not answer that question.”
Tom Reiser was the next to respond.
“Over the past four or five years, we’ve had financial problems in Scioto County. About four years ago after building the new county jail and the collapse of the world economy, we found ourselves with a $3.5 million deficit,” Reiser said. “Since that time, we’ve made a number of major changes and today, and for the past year, our general fund and been in the black. We had an $800,000 deficit in the juvenile detention fund, last month in meeting with our audit committee, that debt was eliminated.”
He said the county’s financial situation right now is good.
“We have a lot of needs. We have some infrastructure needs, the Recorder’s Office needs to get their records online, the Engineer’s Office needs to get their information online and it would be irresponsible for any of us to say we were going to reduce the tax. As far as increasing the tax, even if we wanted to we could not because we are at the maximum 1.5 percent, along with most of the counties in Ohio,” Reiser said. “I think the responsible thing, and really the only answer is, (the) sales tax will likely remain exactly where it is.”
Mike Crabtree was the next to respond.
“It’s been a very challenging time for anybody to serve as county commissioner. With the instability that we’ve had with our budget. The local government funds have been reduced every year and there have been a number of things that have affected the county budget,” Crabtree said. “With the instability we have and the way fuel prices have gone up and down. I think it would take some considerable thought before we would consider reducing the tax.”
The county reported collecting $888,278.35 in permissive sales tax in August, $505,000 ahead of last year’s estimates.
Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 208, or email@example.com.