Frank Lewis and Wayne Allen
PDT Staff Writers
The city of Portsmouth may ask the Scioto County Commissioners for one-quarter of the Ohio Casino Tax revenue the county receives. At the same time, Commissioners say the city should then pay for its share of services absorbed by the county.
At Monday night’s Portsmouth City Council meeting, Second Ward Councilman Rich Saddler, during his ward report, asked that legislation be presented during Mayor David Malone’s conference agenda at the next meeting to call for the city to enter into negotiations with the county for what he believes is the city’s share of that revenue.
“I understand by the Ohio Revised Code that it is restricted only to the counties in the county coffers,” Saddler said. “My personal opinion is that municipalities like ourselves all across the state should get a percentage of that Casino Tax from the County Commissioners.”
Saddler used the population comparison to make his point for asking for a quarter of the money.
“Right now Scioto County has approximately 80,000 people and the city of Portsmouth has approximately 20,000 which would place us right at about 25 percent,” Saddler said. “I would like to see us go into some kind of discussions or negotiations with the County Commissioners to see about coming to to an agreement to see if we can get 25 percent of the Casino money.”
Saddler said the negotiations could be based on figures such as the 2010 census.
“I think that’s something, especially with our financial situation right now, that we could get some kind of revenue,” Saddler said. “But now if the Commissioners would be willing to work with us on that might be a different story. I still feel that as a resident of the city of Portsmouth and a voting member of Scioto County that we should get 25 percent of that money.”
At Tuesday morning’s Scioto County Commissioner’s meeting, the Commissioners were asked what their reaction to such a proposal would be. Commissioner Skip Riffe responded to an assertion that the city should get 25 percent of the money.
“If that’s the case, then that should have been written into the law,” Riffe said.”That’s fine. They can proceed, and they can come to us and we can talk about it.”
“The trade off would be if they (city of Portsmouth) paid their share of the dog pound, and they would pay their share of incarceration fees for the people from the city in the Scioto County Jail,” Commissioner Tom Reiser said. “After that, they’ll probably forget about the 25 percent.”
Reiser said the city used to pay the county for the incarceration of prisoners but they stopped. He said that in 2000 the city paid around $150,000.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or at email@example.com