Mahoning Co. sales tax falls; FitzGerald, public works issue win easily

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — The Mahoning County Commissioners’ request for an extension on the half-percent sales tax increase was denied by 519 votes in Tuesday’s primary election, a margin of about 1.5%, meaning county budget problems may increase.

The current half-percent increase was set to expire at the end of the year. Every half-percent sales tax increase raises about $15.5 million annually and goes towards the county’s general fund budget.

Ed FitzGerald won the Democratic primary race for the Ohio Governor’s spot Tuesday, with over 83% of the votes in his favor, ahead of Larry Ealy, at almost 17%.

Fifty-one-year old Ealy from the Dayton area along with running mate Ken Gray of Cincinnati challenged Cuyahoga County Executive FitzGerald and running mate Sharen Neuhardt. Republican Governor John Kasich faces no primary opponent.

Ohio voters only saw one statewide issue on the ballot. Both Democrats and Republicans threw their support behind State Issue One, a renewal of an old program to fund road, bridge and other public works projects. The issue was approved Tuesday, with over 65% voting in favor.

In the Democratic Primary race in Ohio’s Sixth Congressional District, Former State Representative and Attorney Jennifer Garrison defeated Gregory Howard, who runs a small farm in Meigs County, with almost 73% of the vote. She will face Republican incumbent Bill Johnson in the fall. The sixth district encompasses a number of counties in Southeast Ohio, including all of Columbiana and a good chunk of the southern half of Mahoning County.

Liberty Township voters approved a levy for road construction projects that would generate $226,320 a year and would cost the owner of a $100,000 house $35 a year. The township tried in November to pass the $1.25 million, five-year tax for roads, but voters defeated it by about 250 votes. Trustees have said that the loss of inheritance-tax and other state funds has caused a financial hardship even though the township has cut personnel and eliminated its dispatch center.

Election results are unofficial

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