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Opinion

Summit County sales tax initiative now makes sense, says area resident

8/21/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Letter to the Editor

To the editor:

I have watched with great interest the comments made over the past few weeks regarding the proposed sales tax that was originally intended to fund not only public safety purposes, but also a downtown arena project. While I believe the value of a downtown arena could have a positive economic development impact throughout the county, proven by the success of the minor league baseball stadium in Downtown Akron, I, too, was concerned with paying for a new basketball arena. My concern now becomes moot.

[Summit] County Executive Russ Pry, working with [Summit] County Council, removed the arena project from the sales tax issue. I believe this was a difficult decision for the county executive, whose record shows he takes a holistic approach to improving the entire county with a keen awareness that a strong and economically sustainable county seat is important to the long-term health of the entire County of Summit.

What Pry has proven to be is clear and consistent in his message that public safety is the primary purpose for taking the issue to the voters. I believe it is now time for citizens to support the ballot initiative.

Pry listened to his constituents’ concerns and made two important changes to the ballot issue — removing the arena and [limiting] the sales tax bump to just 10 years. It is refreshing to have a public official actually listen to his constituents and be willing to move forward with public input in mind, and not ramrod something through without regard to the voice of its citizenry.

The limited purpose and short duration tax now makes sense. Anyone living in and outside Summit County who spends money in our borders will pay a share of the tax, so it is not a burden borne only by Summit County residents. The revenue from the tax is directed to ensure all citizens of Summit County are safer.

I strongly urge groups who previously opposed the sales tax because of the arena to publicly jump on board and approve the initiative. It is now a no-brainer, and I will be voting in the affirmative on Nov. 4.

Patrick Carano, Tallmadge

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