On Oct. 1, Williams County is expected to join several other northwest Ohio counties that have raised their sales tax to bolster revenue.
The commissioners have voted 2-1 to increase the tax by 0.5 percent, which would bring the total county sales tax to 7.5 percent - joining the highest-taxing counties in the area. In northwest Ohio, Paulding, Van Wert, Seneca, and Huron counties are the others with a 7.5 percent sales tax.
The increase will take effect unless local residents file petitions seeking a referendum vote by Aug. 21 with the Williams County Board of Elections. Debra Prots, deputy elections director, said 1,119 certified signatures are needed to place the sales-tax issue on the local ballot, either in November or during an election next year.
Commissioner Marvin Stuckey said he is unaware of any organized opposition. He said he hopes the tax won't be contested, because the commissioners presented their concerns to the public during two recent public hearings. “We're watching our pennies because we're very short,” he said.
Citing an anticipated general-fund deficit, both Mr. Stuckey and Commissioner Tom Strup said earlier this summer they felt they had no choice but to impose the tax increase just so they could continue providing county services.
Commissioner Duane Votaw has voted against the tax increase twice. The first time was in June when commissioners approved a resolution indicating their intent to raise the tax, and the second time was July 21 when commissioners voted to enact it Oct. 1.