Stark County proposes tax hike to reverse layoffs

CANTON, Ohio (AP) - Stark County commissioners have proposed a 0.25 percent countywide sales tax to reverse layoffs in the sheriff's department.
Commissioners agreed Tuesday to place the tax measure on the May 6 ballot. If passed, it would raise about $11 million annually for eight years.
It will be the county's fourth attempt at passing a sales tax since one expired in 1999.
The defeat of a similar tax proposal in November forced Sheriff Timothy A. Swanson to cut 54 employees. Thirty-nine clerks, deputies and jail guards were among those laid off.
The number of deputies patrolling was cut by more than half.
If passed, "This will bring us out of the miserable place we are at now: releasing prisoners from jail, not having enough deputies or corrections officers, not giving enough money to all county elected officials," said Commissioner Gayle Jackson.
(Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)