Commissioner Judy Dodge said the county identified some efficiencies, but not enough to avoid raising taxes.
“We’ve looked under every rock. We looked everywhere to try to get us through this,” Dodge said. “This is tough. But what kind of community to we want to live in? We don’t want to go back 30 years. We want to move forward.”
While an imperfect measure — because people make purchases in other counties and vice versa — the average additional cost to each person in Montgomery County works out to about $36 more a year. After the tax kicks in, the county will receive on average a new total of about $182 in sales taxes annually for every man, woman and child in the county.
County Commission President Debbie Lieberman said without the tax increase, the county would have had to “cut out everything we do with the arts, everything we do with economic development, the money we put in YouthWorks and other workforce things that are not federal dollars that we as a community invest in.”
Nine people spoke — just one against increase — Tuesday at the final public hearing before commissioners voted. Those speaking in favor of the increase included the top leaders of the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance and the Dayton Art Institute as well as from the business community including the President and CEO of the Dayton Development Coalition.
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Montgomery County will join Franklin County and portions of Delaware and Union counties with the third-highest combined sales tax rate in the state at 7.5 percent.
Current purchasers in Montgomery County — and those in 52 other Ohio counties — now pay a total retail sales tax rate of 7.25 percent. The state currently gets 5.75 percent of that while 0.5 percent of the tax collected in Montgomery County goes to the Greater Dayton Regional Transit Authority.
At 8 percent, the overall retail sales tax rate in Cuyahoga County, which includes a 1 percent transit tax, is the highest in the state. A portion of Licking County pays 7.75 percent. If a 0.25 percent increase is approved, Montgomery County would join Franklin County and portions of Delaware and Union counties with the third-highest sales tax in the state.