Council recently hosted a public meeting on the proposed sales tax increase.
This tax hike, if approved by voters, will provide $80 million to build a basketball arena for the University of Akron. County taxpayers will be on the hook for a total of $161 million. This ballot issue raises taxes on the already taxed-out citizens of our county, puts more tax burden on those with less income and will do little to benefit many of our communities. The U of A will be providing $0 for this project. Question: "Why should our cash-strapped county government pay for this project?" They shouldn't.
In addition to this expensive arena project, our sheriff will receive funds for several department needs. The proponents of this tax increase have made it clear that they plan on using our safety forces as pawns in their political games. Raising taxes for the needs of our safety forces is a discussion to be had, but to spend $161 million on an arena (not safety) when our sheriff continues to face lawsuits, jail assaults and under-staffing is shameful.
This money should not be funding U of A projects. Our safety forces should be the top priority, and this arena undermines the severity of the issues they face. Our safety forces are tired of being trotted out by politicians who do not fix spending and revenue issues, but rather shift the focus to projects they have no business in spearheading. Lumping this basketball arena with our safety forces is irresponsible.
I urge all of you to contact Council and tell them to stop playing politics with our safety forces and tell them you will not support this issue if the arena is attached. We deserve better from our leaders.