Monday, November 30, 2009

Brown County Update

Petitions Submitted Regarding County Sales Tax Hike

Three business owners spearheading an effort to get a recent increase in the county sales tax on the spring ballot delivered petitions to County Auditor Doug Green on Wednesday, Nov. 25. Daryll Gray, of Gray's Maytag in Georgetown, as well as Seth and Tina Meranda, owners of Meranda-Nixon Winery in Ripley, turned the petitions over.

Many local business owners in the county spoke out against the .25 percent increase in the county sales tax, due to take effect January 1. The increase will make the sales tax for all taxable good in the county to the state set maximum of 7 percent.

The all Democrat County Commissioners (Jennings, Paeltz, and Geschwind)voted to approve the hike after two public hearings on October 28. Meranda's group had 30 days to submit a petition signed by 1500 voters in the county. According to the Merandas, they secured 25% more than required.

If enough signatures are verified, a referendum will be placed on the spring primary ballot. More from a local paper carrying the story:
The Brown County Commissioners said the delay would force the county to make additional cuts due to the loss of revenue from the first quarter of 2010. The Commissioners passed a temporary budget in the beginning of October but they will need to pass an updated temporary budget by the end of the year.

Commission Board President Margery Paeltz said if the petitions are approved and the referendum goes on the ballot they will not be able to figure the potential increased revenue into their budget. Additionally they cannot use potential increases from property taxes due to Certified Agricultural Use Value changes. Paeltz said they are expecting the state to give them finalized funding amounts for next year on Dec. 1 and at that time they will have a clearer picture of how much they will need to cut from the budget. The Commissioners will then meet with the county elected officials to discuss where those cuts will come from. Brown County Commissioner Bill Geschwind said the county would need to make additional cuts even if the sales tax increase is not put into effect.

Green said the petitions will be kept under lock and key for 10 working days and at the end of the day on the 11th day they will be turned over to the Brown County Board of Elections for certification. The BOE will have 10 days to certify the petitions.

Brown County Clerk of Courts Tina Meranda helped her husband Seth circulate petitions. She said in total there were 30 volunteers that helped.

“The Commissioners said they did the hard thing and raised the sales tax,” Tina Meranda said. “But sitting in their office and raising taxes is not hard. Spending every evening for 30 days away from your family travelling around getting signatures, that was hard.”

Former Commissioner Candidate Eagan Seriously Injured in Car Accident

Two time Republican candidate for County Commissioner Rick Eagan was seriously injured in a car accident Tuesday November 24th. At approximately 6:40am, Eagan struck and killed a deer on New Hope White Oak Station Road, just south of Goose Run Rd. He stopped his vehicle left of center and started to get out of his vehicle. As he was exiting the vehicle, a 17 year old Sardinia male driving a 2002 Ford Mustang struck Eagan and the door of the Explorer. Eagan suffered a compound fracture to his right leg, multiple fractures to his right arm, and internal bleeding, among other injuries. He was taken by Mt. Orab EMS to Mercy Hospital and later taken to University Hospital. The accident remains under investigation.

Thoughts and prayers go out to the Eagan Family.

Brown County Republican Dinner Set for December 5th

The Brown County Republican Dinner is set for Saturday, December 5th at the Southern Hills Joint Vocational Center just off of Rt. 68 on Hamer Road in Georgetown. See or their facebook page for details. Candidates Josh Mandel for Treasurer and Jon Husted for Secretary of State have been invited to speak. Let's hope that Mandel speaks because the JVS may never be able to remove the slimy residue from its floors if Husted is the one to speak.