COLUMBIANA COUNTY Officials of state group urge sales tax

LISBON -- Officials of a statewide organization are to speak in support of efforts to increase the Columbiana County sales tax.
Robert Boggs, president of the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, and Larry Long, the association's executive director, are scheduled to attend the weekly county commissioners meeting this morning.
Columbiana County commissioners invited Boggs, an Ashtabula County commissioner, and Long to publicly address the county's fiscal plight and the 0.5 percent sales tax increase on the May 7 primary ballot.
The two men will offer a statewide perspective on the needs of county government and the necessity of adequately funding it, Commissioners Sean Logan and Dave Cranmer said Tuesday.
Boggs and Long are likely to point out that "this situation is really desperate," Logan said.
Commissioners say it's necessary to increase the sales tax to 1.5 percent because expenses are outpacing revenues, despite efforts among county officials to be fiscally prudent.
The sales tax increase would bring in about $3 million annually.
Here are concerns
This year's county general fund budget of nearly $14.3 million is balanced. But the balance was achieved by shearing away about $2 million in funding requests, including salary budgets for county employees.
Without the sales tax increase, county government is facing layoffs and loss of services as the year progresses, county department heads have said.
This marks the second consecutive weekly commissioners meeting during which the sales tax increase has been discussed.
Last week, members of the county's agricultural community attended the commissioners meeting and voiced their support for the sales tax.